Inverloch is a name that should conjure up an intense anticipation at this point: the band involves two of the members of diSEMBOWELMENT, the band that is, essentially, the progenitor of the death-doom style. The single diSEMBOWELMENT album, Transcendence Into The Peripheral, is not only the first death-doom album, but a classic in the genre, and the return of not just one, but multiple members of the group to their origins in a new group has created much buzz, as it always does with these sorts of groups. And it rightly should; Inverloch is an exciting group and the two tracks they’ve put out so far are, on their own, killer slices of classic, classy death-doom that are phenomenal listens.
You may have noticed that was prefaced with “on their own,” and, unfortunately, there’s a reason for that: Inverloch’s debut LP, Distance | Collapsed, is a collection of five killer tracks, all of which are exactly what one would expect from a group of this nature, but together, they smear together into a miasma of mediocrity and sound, creating an experience that drags and doesn’t do anything particularly memorable.
Following in the style they set down, this is an album that combines the fast-paced, blast beats and buzzsaw guitars nature of death metal with the crawling ambience and melancholy tone of doom metal, a fusion that seems at times like riding one’s bicycle down a hill pumping the breaks, creating an odd stop-start dynamic that the bands in the genre use to their advantage to disorient and confuse the listener, which helps get the audience more invested in the record’s atmosphere. Inverloch is more than capable of doing this, but at times, it seems it’s all that they do; this is a highly predictable album save for a few elements that come out of the blue on very rare occasions, like the fuzzed-out solo at the beginning of “Distance Collapsed (In Rubble)”.
This predictability is by far the album’s biggest weakness: we’ve heard everything on here before. It seems at times as though Distance | Collapsed does nothing more than just try to channel the success of diSEMBOWELMENT’s work, which came out 20 years ago. This was, quite frankly, a big concern going into this album for many, and it’s disappointing to know that this is a reality now.
Although it’s certainly not fair as a knock against the album, it’s also worth mentioning that the two longest tracks on Distance | Collapsed are the ones that were chosen as singles, which is an odd move. Why give us the two biggest chunks of the album as their own tracks ahead of time? It’s a bizarre choice, and even though, again, it’s definitely not a discredit for the album, it’s worth mentioning that this just isn’t a good idea.
The riffs and solos are here, the slow ambience and inviting tones are here, the drumming that seems to switch between minimal and breakneck in an instant is here; everything that one would expect on this record is here. The problem is that that’s about where it ends. Somewhere in the quest to create a fantastic death-doom record, Distance | Collapsed became absolutely nothing more than another death-doom album, and not even a particularly outstanding one a at that. Sure, there are fans of the genre that will enjoy this record, but in the end, this is really nothing beyond yet another standard death-doom record.