Album Review – The Battle of Yaldabaoth by Infant Annihilator (Self Released)

English/American grind/death core band, Infant Annihilator have released their brand new album, The Battle of Yaldabaoth.

Infant Annihilator are a trio who formed in 2012. The band currently consists of English members, Aaron Kitcher on drums and Eddie Pickard on guitars. The vocals come from American, Dickie Allen. Allen replaced Dan Watson around 2014. Watson was also American so Infant Annihilator have always had the formation of American on vocals and English on instruments.

The Battle of Yaldabaoth dropped on the 11th of September and is the band’s 3rd full length. We checked out the single, Three Bastards, in the run up to the album release. You can read our thoughts on that single here. Safe to say we loved it. It certainly opened up my judgemental little eyes. I went in expecting to like it but purely from the frenetic insanity side of things. I expected ridiculously heavy music that would be enjoyable to listen to a couple times and to maybe shock a few friends. I didn’t expect to find myself loving it, finding moments of immense depth and little snippets of magic throughout. It certainly raises my expectations for The Battle of Yaldabaoth so let’s get on with it.

The Battle of Yaldabaoth

The Battle of Yaldabaoth is 14 tracks long and weighs in at just under and hour long. At first you think that might be a little long for such an extreme sound but it flies by. It’s quite astonishing really. I don’t think I have ever listened to an album as heavy as this that you would also describe as technically complex, full of rhythm and progressive. The album treads a thin line between order and chaos, occasionally stepping into either realm but mostly just hanging on the border giving you an equal dose of both, sometimes at the same time. Orderly chaos or chaotic order.

The whole of the album is littered with gems. Moments of jaw dropping brilliance amidst the drenching of brutal, relentless metal. Straight from the album opener, Childchewer we get hit with a powerful assault of punishing drums and grating vocals that mix between high and low tones. The guitars screech around almost at will and not always in line with the overall riff. These out of time moments create a lot of the chaos as our stupid little minds struggle to follow multiple aural streams and perhaps that’s why it’s so pleasing when suddenly everything clicks into sync and creates order and rhythm from the chaos. Three Bastards comes next and you can read me gushing over it at the link above.

The Kingdom Sitteth Lonely Beneath Thine Hollowed Heavens has one hell of a name and also features a guest in The Black Dahlia Murder’s vocalist Trevor Strnad. Amazing really that this track is over 7 minutes long. It starts off with a bit more order hitting with an aggressive and low tones riff and drum beat. The vocals are vicious and powerful throughout as it takes us on a sonic journey through aneurism inducing drums, sudden switches to grooving rhythm and then back into metal that hits you so hard, you feel like retreating into a corner and shielding yourself for protection. Chuck in the lead guitar, and it’s almost chip tune like soloing, and it is almost too much to handle, but in a good way. Music that brings you to the cliff edge but claws you back before you fall.

Ov Sacrament and Sincest features Storm Strope (ex The Last Ten Seconds of Life) and Feast Ov Goreglutton come next. Two songs that must be heavy because they have changed the “f” on of to a “v”. And they are. The former is viciously heavy and insanely fast. It then messes with your mind by switching to a huge, chunky groove section in the middle with some devilish lead lines. There is even a mini solo played at such hyper speeds it starts sounding like a keyboard. The latter puts all previous speed and heaviness to shame with it’s ear splitting violence. It gathers itself near the middle for a clever progressive drumming part. This acts as a bit of a decoy though as they suddenly explode out of this into a ferocious section that leaves you open mouthed.

Plaguebearer and Swinaecologist are next up. Plaguebearer has a really evil, really dark start to it with a cracking riff. The drums are cymbal heavy and crash around you, enveloping you in the noise. The guitars absolutely scream at you and have a touch of black metal to them. Just as the chaos gets near to being too much, it pulls it in for a big rhythmic section. Brilliant. Swinaecologist brings the pace with speed soloing and rapid drumming in the intro. It slows down and descends into madness backed by absolutely ferocious vocals. It continues iwht a fiery balst beat section before we get another crazy solo that sounds almost chip tune before it all descends into chaos for a carnal ending.

A Rape of Sirens comes next and features another guest in Alex Terrible (Slaughter to Prevail). It really just brings more of what we have heard before with extreme heaviness and layers of music. It does also contain some of the most guttural growls on the album so far and has a destructive breakdown. It is vicious. There is still time to chuck in some excellent guitar work in a more rhythmic ending,

After that we get the trio of Empusa: Queen of the Damned, Ere the Crimson Dawn and Thy Faith, Thy Oblivion. Three songs that really bring the heaviness. Empusa is vicious, with machine like drumming and near relentless aggression alongside a really neat little solo. Crimson Dawn brings some serious chug in it’s intro with off timed progressive drumming. Thy Faith, Thy Oblivion has some really odd time signature sin the intro before it settles into an all out, ferocious attack. There are some neat riffs in this one and some added melody nearing choruses.

This lead us into the final part of the album starting with another over 6 minute long song, and the title track, The Battle of Yaldabaoth. It features another guest in Alex Teyen (Black Tongue). This title track is an amalgamation of all Infant Annihilator’s prior elements making for one hell of song. The vocals reach terrifying levels of aggression. There is a slightly mad solo that pulls itself back to turn into an amazing melodic line backed by machine drumming and ferocious vocals. It’s is insanely heavy before the last 10 seconds drop into a muted melody and distorted drum sound.

The penultimate track is called Necropocalypse. This track switches things up nicely starting with orchestral atmospherics. It acts as the perfect foil for the madness that ensues. Alongside the insanity though there is some amazing guitar work and a wicked slowed down headbanging section near the end. We close the album on the 30 second long Paedophilic Legacy which is really just an outro. Messing around in the studio, I guess with lots of laughter and muted music that sounds a little like the Pink Panther theme.

That closes a phenomenal album. An album of insane heaviness but with so many layers and so much depth, it is quite astonishing. A genuine contender for album of the year, and it will definitely end up thereabouts. The hour flies by leaving you shell-shocked at times, open mouthed at others. Of course, with any music lie this there are times when you think it is almost too heavy. Too much to bear but Infant Annihilator manage that line so well. They really do tread a fine line between order and chaos, like I said before. Whatever your feelings about this relentlessly punishing style of music, listen to this and at worst you will be impressed. Most likely you will be as blown away, as I am.

The Battle of Yaldabaoth is out now on all the usual streaming platforms. You can also grab a copy from the band directly at their Bandcamp page, here. Head here to grab some merch too.

Infant Annihilator Links

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The Battle of Yaldabaoth by Infant Annihilator (Self Released)
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