Album Review: Replicant – Infinite Mortality

Album Review: Replicant - Infinite Mortality
Reviewed by Sam Jones

When I saw Replicant had a new album due on the horizon, I knew it was a no-brainer. Formed in 2014, and hailing from New Jersey, United States, Replicant have only continued to go from strength to strength. Their debut EP, Worthless Desires, launched in 2016 and was followed suit by their first album, Negative Life, in 2018. Another EP and two Splits came through but, soon enough, the band unleashed their second record, and my personal introduction to the band, Malignant Reality, in 2021, which I found was an excellent release. Now, slated for an April 12th release date, Infinite Mortality comes three years on as the band’s third full length work, and their second with Transcending Obscurity Records. Once again employing Alli Tuttle to design their cover art as they had done so with Malignant Reality, it seems to reflect well the style Replicant’s songwriting has established. I was more than keen to get started.

Replicant’s riff style hasn’t changed as we’ve moved from the end of their last album to Infinite Mortality. While their death metal style isn’t too removed from the conventional norm, you can tell easily that Replicant’s riffs feel like they’re slanted somewhat. If their most typical guitar segments possess a strangeness to their sound as if the riffs are attempting to mimic rudimentary or familiar tones but we can recognise, to the band’s deliberate efforts, that something is indeed off. It’s what has helped Replicant to garner a passionately loyal fanbase pretty quickly. What need saying however is, while the band give you the bulk of the primary riff for a track, that’s by no means the sole totality of the track. Replicant’s riffs don’t simply evolve but develop right before your ears so a track can often end with a completely vibe than it started out with; there can be multiple routes the main riff can take as the band write their music to be purposefully open-ended. Therefore, there’s no predicting, with no prior idea of the record’s running, what a track may consist of since Replicant are such an erratic force to be reckoned with.

It’s been said many times before with Replicant’s songwriting, but the sheer inventiveness the band are prepared to throw at us, and the unorthodox style their music harnesses, is truly impressive. The band really are not afraid to throw out some bizarre elements and ideas to you in the hopes they stick, and yet in spite of how manic their soundscape is, it always manages to hold together with immense solidity. A record as haphazard and left-field as Infinite Mortality could run the risk of losing itself within its plethora of sporadic concepts and odd riff styles, but Replicant somehow bind it all together with utter ease. You’ll listen to a single track and follow it, despite the crazy and loose approach to songwriting they possess, and you’ll still come away acknowledging how everything you heard did indeed belong in a single track and made sense to behold and even enjoy. It’s all the more striking when they do just that throughout their longer pieces, when they’re at greater risk of waning their audience’s engagement; an aspect I can say never once occurred.

Album Review: Replicant - Infinite Mortality

The guitar work is aligned closely with how the vocals are performed too. Vocally, the record is pretty standard and we’ve come to anticipate a growling style from this sort of album. But I thoroughly appreciate the personal touches applied to the vocal delivery herein; the delivery itself may be growling but longtime Vocalist and Guitarist Michael Gonçalves puts such an animalistic, feral snarl on his performance that it only aids to sell the lunacy this record infers. Listening to the vocals, while the riffs are rupturing space-time, only makes for a collectively more unhinged record that feels like it’s reading to split at the seams. There’ll be segments where the vocals are pretty conventional, only for their timbre and sanity to seemingly slip and crack as Gonçalves’ delivery only strains and pleads for remorse. It really helps to reinforce the atmosphere Replicant are renowned for, emphasising the fact that it’s not merely a riff choice for why this album sounds the way it does; it’s the full band making the decision to be this deliberately crazed.

What’s interesting is how the guitar work and drums are seemingly entwined throughout the record. They’re equally complementing each other as, when the riffs slow down or pick up in intensity, the drums will usually reply in turn with a particular pattern or tempo in mind to reinforce the kind of aesthetic Replicant seek to purport in the track they’re playing. Should the riff be more methodical, you’ll find the bass drums are employed more; if the drums are exhibiting more blast beats,then the guitar work tends to be more destructive, utilising neck sweeps and divebombs. It’s very symbiotic in that sense because you soon pick up on it, and there on out you’re constantly looking for it and then smiling because it’s something Replicant have absolutely built into the bricks of their record. Moreover, for an album as ripping and maddening as Infinite Mortality, I appreciate the band for ensuring their drums could still be audibly heard and appreciated without difficulty in comprehending them. It’s further evidence that the entire band’s performance was to be highlighted, not merely the riffs and atmosphere by themselves.

In conclusion, I personally think that while their last record, Malignant Reality, was a jolt to the senses, Infinite Mortality is by far their best work yet. This is one wild, fissure-inducing record that seethes with a volcanic nature that’s to be approached tentatively, for risk of rupturing its skin. Their songwriting is absolutely wall to wall with how it develops and where it may end up, yet it still manages to present itself as coherent music that can not only be thoroughly comprehended but also enjoyed as we would any conventional work of heavy metal. Replicant have this knack for writing music that’s technical without slapping it in our faces and yet harnessing an avant-garde element that’s not too weird for us to wrap our heads around. They’ve struck a wonderful middle ground between convention and chaos, and no doubt I’ll return again to see if I missed anything the first time round. This is a fabulous album to lose yourself in and I’m only more excited for what these guys do next. I’d love to see them play this material live.

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