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Regressus Ad Infinitum : Regressus Ad Infinitum (Compilation)

Obscure mid-'90s Russian band R.A.I. get a deserved unearthing with this compilation of their complete works.

Released in late 2017, 'Regressus Ad Infinitum' provides a pretty comprehensive compilation of the band's output. A two-disc set, the first disc features the band's sole full-length album, 'Empty Illusions', with disc two providing completists with an array of tracks taken from various demos and EPs. All the material on the compilation dates back to the mid to late '90s, with no further releases from the band since that time. With no recent output, and no social media presence for the band, there is a certain air of mystery about them. With Google, for once, coming up with very little to help me piece together a bit of R.A.I.'s background, I placed the enigmatic first disc in my cd player eager to learn more.

The 'Empty Illusions' album begins strongly with opener, 'The Thunder Storm Before'; a brooding, progressive instrumental piece, which is quickly followed by the brutal 'At Dawn'. Beginning ominously with peals of thunder, a pummelling riff soon injects a dose of aggression that is maintained admirably throughout the course of the album. There are quieter, more progressive interludes and some subtle keyboard effects that add depth, but the aggression remains constant. Vocals are delivered in a furious Death-Doom growl that carries a genuine air of menace, heightening the relentless energy that R.A.I. created on this almost forgotten gem.

There's a sense of urgency that can be felt throughout the album which never lets up. Even during the more sombre, melancholy passages, that energy remains. The reasons behind the ultimate demise of Regressus Ad Infinitum remain, to this reviewer at least, shrouded in mystery, but listening to this compilation, one can't help but wish they'd gone on to release more music. First class performances abound from all members of the band, with some particularly fine guitar work. A sizeable number of powerful, stomping Doom riffs can be heard, along with some surprisingly melodic acoustic passages that add an element of light and shade to the album.

With some dramatic instrumental tracks that generate an eerie, Doom-laden atmosphere, interesting time changes, and a hint of female backing vocals here and there, the album never gets samey. What really stands out, though, is the energy and passion in the delivery of this obscure, but magnificent, jewel of underground '90s Doom. There's something satisfyingly old school about listening to an album with very little available information about the release itself, or the band that created it, online. Just like back in the 90s when the album was originally released on cassette, if you couldn't find a magazine review, or a word of mouth recommendation, you paid your money and you took your chances. And this would have been, and still is, well worth taking a chance on. The first disc is worth the purchase price alone, but with the second disc containing alternate versions and additional tracks, the 'Regressus Ad Infinitum' compilation is a fine homage to a band that really should be more well known.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
CD1: Empty Illusions
1. The Thunder Storm Before (Intro)
2. At Dawn
3. Feelings Of Doom
4. The Lost Future
5. My Tears
6. Suffering (Instrumental)
7. The Presage Of Chaos
8. Your Last Desire
9. Terrorising
10. Cyanide
11. Hostile World (Outro)
CD2: Out of Nowhere
1. Cyanide
2. Your Last Desire
3. Feeling Of Doom
4. The Horrible Night
5. Your Last Desire
6. Feeling Of Doom
7. Moral In The Sin
8. Going High (Bonus track)
9. On The Shore (Bonus track)
10. Thorns (Bonus track)

Duration : Approx. 97 minutes

Visit the Regressus Ad Infinitum bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-01-09 by Nick Harkins
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