The Gravehill/Mordbrand split wasn’t the only slab of killer vinyl Doomentia Records released on the 18th, as the same day also saw the release of a split between Chile’s Evil Madness and Norway’s Infant Death on vinyl. Released earlier in the year as a limited run cassette from Ancestral Terror Records and CD from Deathrash Armageddon, this is the first time these tracks have been available on vinyl. Both bands offer different takes on thrash, but keep things as old-school as possible and provide the same of unrelenting intensity and chaotic feel that are sure to remind listeners of some of the best acts from the genre’s earlier days.
Evil Madness kicks things off, with four songs of old-school thrash meets earlier death/thrash. A soft melodic intro opens their side of the split, but it doesn’t take long before they unleash their raging guitar leads and nonstop energy at listeners. These guys have been around since 2003 and this experience shows throughout the material, as not only are the instrumentals razor sharp but the playing is tight and precise. I’ve had a lot of South American thrash bands come my way over the past decade and there have been quite a few that tried to let the sheer intensity and force overcome the sloppiness of their performance, but Evil Madness maintains that onslaught without sacrificing playing ability. With an analog sound that feels like it could have been ripped out of the same years that saw many of the genre classics come out, the material here is as reminiscent of Sarcofago and Possessed as it is early Kreator and Sodom. Super-fast riffs and blasting drums give way to scorching solos, and all the while the vocals hit with a lower pitched scream that commands your attention. It’s certainly a familiar take on early thrash and death/thrash, but Evil Madness does it extremely well and delivers material that has the ability to pull you in with standout leads before bludgeoning you into the ground.
Once Evil Madness’ four tracks leave you battered and bloody, Infant Death comes around to make sure nothing is left of your remains. The Norwegian group has been around for about four years and released their third full length a few months ago. Wasting no time on intros or build-ups, opener Cleanser of the Weak immediately attacks the listener with fast, manic riffs and a sheer wall of sound. Compared to Evil Madness’ traditional thrash and death/thrash, Infant Death comes across as a mix of traditional thrash and black/thrash. Kreator and Sodom are once again good comparisons, with bands like Nifelheim also coming to mind as you make your way through the material. Once again there’s an old-school feel to the sound, and the balance between roaring thrash and abrasive black metal that feels like it’s going to rip your skin off makes Infant Death worth paying attention to. Four of the songs are original material, with a quick over of Onslaught’s Thermonuclear Devastation appearing towards the end. Like Evil Madness, these guys showcase a bit more finesse to their attack and the strength of the playing on display makes the music grab me much more than the average, sloppily played black/thrash. Guitarist/vocalist Knegge is worth mentioning as well, as he has one of those raspier screams that sounds truly unhinged and makes the songs feel even more intense and in your face.
I’ve found splits to be a great way to dive into bands I was unfamiliar with, and this release is another great example of that. It’s a quick onslaught of raging thrash that pulls from slightly different influences depending on which side you’re listening to, but Evil Madness and Infant Death complement each other well and provide a half hour of sheer chaos and violence that destroys everything in its path. This split is available now on vinyl from Doomentia Records, and it looks like I have some discographies to dive into as both of these bands have multiple records available to check out.