Inborn Suffering - _Regression to Nothingness_
(Solitude Productions, 2012)
by: Chaim Drishner (5.5 out of 10)
This very review is both an anomaly and an attempt to antagonize the consensus about this album, which is basically, how awesome it is. An anomaly due to the fact I'm reviewing an album I don't care too much for, something I usually refrain from doing; an album whose qualities are not worthy of my time and effort articulating into coherent words (for that matter, see Kostas Sarampalis' article "Quality Not Quantity - Or why I mostly review albums that I like" for a good explanation of the notion).

Amidst doom metal circles this album is pretty much one of the best things that 2012 has spawned. It is being praised by many, and when end of year best-of lists start to emerge, you'll see this very album star on every god damn doom-related list. I had to understand why; had to explore the album further and articulate my disdain; face the challenge of explaining why I do not like this album.

Inborn Suffering were a decent band displaying their abilities on their 2006 debut album _Wordless Hope_; a mediocre effort of gothic-tinged melodic doom/death metal, running rampant with genre clichés and lacking personality. _Regression to Nothingness_ exhibits many changes and improvements in the cliché department; it sounds more original and singular in the sense it bears unique band fingerprints and the sound and songwriting paradigms have radically shifted in a positive direction. The band have undoubtedly embraced a certain degree of individuality in comparison to the debut album.

Yet Inborn Suffering still sound like many of their peers, and still exercise many of the style's typical techniques and dogmatic songwriting approaches. Remember the album release frenzy of bands signed to Firebox Records from 2004 onwards, where Swallow the Sun et al had released good sounding albums that were completely redundant and rehashed? Remember the plethora of bands signed to that Finnish label who had been releasing truly forgettable albums? They were forgettable despite the fact their music wasn't even half-bad. That's exactly the case here.

_Regression to Nothingness_ is -- like many other faulty albums in the same school that are out there -- not really offering doom-slash-death metal. The album isn't -that- slow or heavy or deathlike or anything; the music is mostly pushed forward by the vocals that are strongly rooted in the gothic metal school and a set of rather impressive keyboard compositions, the absence of which would have caused a disintegration of the other elements here that by no means stand alone. The spoken verses and many of the riffs resemble the body of work of My Dying Bride's mellower parts, and the lightweight growls sound too strained; too much of a try-hard affair.

Although much of the album displays rather beautiful and emotional melodies, one cannot escape the notion the music is a patchwork of influences and false sentiments; like a musical creation assembled by a machine, compiling all the 'right' elements it has been taught to compile from scarps and pieces, from here and from there, extrapolating this knowledge and executing it through and through, excluding all the 'wrong' stuff found on the doom metal 101 wrongs and rights list, but neglecting the very essence of human creation: creativity and authenticity, even if flawed; singularity and self-loyalty to this very process. The outcome can be less than perfect -- I do not care. Perfection was never a big issue in underground music.

I hear a lot of excuses and I see much of this 'being at peace with the world' going on here, as if reconciliation, being 'nice' and walking the line are the main elements of a good album -- well, they are most certainly not. On the contrary; antagonizing the world, even within the micro-cosmos of doom metal, raising the banner of individuality, no matter how imperfect it may be, is the roadmap to art.

In a crowded world that is nothing but a small village now with the Internet and globalization and whatnot, it is virtually impossible for an artist to detach from incoming influences, but that ability is what sets the artist apart from the conman, the bandwagon jumper or follower. A demanding art such as metal constantly seeks leaders -- not followers. It demands the artist to be almost supernatural in the sense that nature loves imitations, while art despises them, and an artist is like a god, metaphysical in his work, who creates something out of the nothingness. We, the mere audience, expect not a lesser 'product'.

_Regression to Nothingness_, albeit impressive, does not offer a single moment of individuality. It bears the notion of artificial colours and artificial flavours, and I truly find it surprising how such an emotive album, containing so many beautiful moments, leaves me apathetic and empty. Listen to this album and be your own judge.


(article published 29/12/2012)

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