A deal with Unique Leader Records is the absolute ceiling for most brutal death metal (BDM) bands. The monotonous chug riffs, absurd drum triggers, and strangulated gurgle noises alienate ninety-nine percent of the metal fanbase, never mind the mainstream. Not so with Ingested. They graduated from the famous BDM label created by Deeds of Flesh legend, Erik Lindmark (RIP), and now answer to Brian Slagel at Metal Blade as their new boss. SBR praised their 2020 effort as ‘forty-nine minutes of bludgeoning with a visceral assault that sounds like a groove-filled Anaal Nathrakh’. We also noted how they incorporated deathcore into their sound, and this is something they explore even further on album number six.
Long-time guitarist, Sam Yates, departed from the band in 2021, but those new to the Manchester slam merchants will be delighted to learn that Interloper shredder, Miles Dimitri Baker, is the touring replacement alongside Sean Hynes for their US concert dates this month. You would not think Ingested are a trio when you hear the severe pounding of the opening title track. Starting the song with a foreboding flanger effect of clean guitar picking might catch you off guard, but the staccato Veil of Maya riffs and demonic vocals soon take over. Drummer, Lyn Jeffs, is the king of the double-kick drums and triggered blast beats, yet he takes a more restrained approach here, letting the eight-string guitars guide the way with their fierce down-picking crunch techniques. The ghostly lament of female harmonies in the chorus makes it clear that Ingested have ambitions far beyond the slam underground now they have the might of Metal Blade Records behind them.
Few BDM bands groove like Ingested, and that’s because the Mancunians outgrew their slam roots on their last record. Ashes Lie Still will shock some of the die-hards who want Dying Fetus instead of Despised Icon as the engine of the group’s sound. But did anyone object when Decapitated returned in 2011 as a different unit with more emphasis on down-tuned grooves and visceral hardcore vocals? ‘Shadows in Time’ makes great use of the ‘bomb blast’ drum technique and demonstrates the multiple personalities of Jason Evans’ malevolent scream vocals. The opening riff to ‘You’ll Never Learn’ is like a twenty-first century interpretation of mid-90s Prong but with imperious death metal vocals. They allow you to breathe in between the percussive onslaught, even if it’s a feeble pipe of oxygen to your lungs.
SBR noted how Ingested ‘need to throw in more dissonant chords’ and ‘give us some chromatic shapes’ when reviewing 2020’s Where Only Gods May Tread album. They answer the call on ‘Tides of Glass’ with a discordant black metal angle to the syncopated guitars and crisp drum assaults. You can distinguish each song as the album progresses. ‘Sea of Stone’ starts with an atmospheric doom experiment; ‘All I Lost’ features Trivium’s Matt Heafy in the chorus and torments the spirit with mournful keyboards that would not be out of place on a Sisters of Mercy record. Ashes Lie Still is more claustrophobic than previous albums – the emphasis on annihilating the listener is still there, but it’s more subtle.
Sven De Caluwé of Aborted helps to deliver the classic Ingested sound on ‘From Hollow Words’, yet closing track, ‘Scratch the Vein’, is – if you believe these words – almost like a brutal death metal attempt at a rock song. You feel like you’re alone in an underground sewer with a torch and only the sound of dripping water leaks to keep you company as you scramble through the tunnel pipes. Of course, the guitar distortion is hostile and the footwork from Lyn Jeffs is supreme, yet you can feel the anguish of Jason Evans in every word as if gripping a handful of earth and watching it fall through your fingers.
Have Ingested stretched the BDM genre as far as the elastic will allow before it morphs into deathcore? Maybe, but it’s an enjoyable experience even if the amount of repetition threatens to numb your mind.
Release Date: 04/11/2022
Record Label: Metal Blade
Standout tracks: Ashes Lie Still, You’ll Never Learn, With Broken Wings
Suggested Further Listening: Decapitated – Cancer Culture (2022), Despised Icon – The Ills of Modern Man (2007), Deliberate Miscarriage – Mortuary Melodies (2021)