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Inferno (XII) : Call of Kia

For something tagged as Stoner/Psychedelic Doom, this release is actually pretty clean sounding, displaying tight songwriting and wonderfully crafted atmosphere.

You can't judge a book by its cover. This is literally true for Inferno (XII)'s full length, "Call Of Kia", mainly because the album art is so dark, I can barely make anything out. However, in this case, I am also talking about the opening and ending songs on here. Judging by those alone, one might think that Inferno (XII) are playing a tribute to 90s era Black Mark Records bands and the ballads of Savatage.

Inferno (XII) are actually a stoner/psychedelic doom metal band out of Sweden, and "Call Of Kia" is their second (also independently released) full length album.

The aforementioned opening (and title) track 'Call Of Kia' certainly sounds more death metal than doom. It has an overall early 90s death/doom feel to it, with a vocal style reminiscent of Neurosis. But again, more death metal than doom. Ending song 'Demon Food', on the other hand, starts off with piano, and even gives off a sinister 'Fear Of The Dark' vibe. Overall, this is a song which would fit nicely on Savatage's "Dead Winter Dead" album, and even manages to remind one of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' at times. It's a strange start and a strange finish, to say the least.

The meat of the album, as it were, is much more in line from what one might expect of a band tagged as stoner/psychedelic doom. It goes from the straight up Saint Vitus vibe of 'Phantom Hold' (the shortest track here, just a baker's dozen seconds shy of the five minute mark), to the more aggressive (especially in the vocal department) 'Which Burns Forever', sounding a lot like Tekhton with a Swedish interpretation of southern doom (and hits of Orchid and Black Sabbath all around).

Even these songs are quite diverse, mind you. The intro to 'Spawn In The Fear' is almost tribal sounding, while the dissonant chords and riffage give a slightly off key vibe, which bestows the song with a nice creepy edge. It almost sounds like a meaner Black Sabbath at times. The vocals are gruff, but remain clean, and the melodic/clean break at around seven minutes ends the song nicely. 'Subramanya' is quite sludgy at times, while retaining that Neurosis vibe. It is, however, the weakest track on here, and that drum break around the four minute mark has a very 'out of place' NWOBHM feel to it.

Those of you pining for a more 'classic' stoner doom feel should be right at home with 'The Illusion Of Blake' (which starts off with the quintessential stoner doom riff... instant Sleep and Electric Wizard, with hints of YOB, while the end of the song sounds like something that could fit on a 'cleaner' version of EYEHATEGOD's "Take As Needed For Pain"), and 'Snake' (with a beginning that sounds like a somewhat groovy interpretation of something from Autopsy's "Mental Funeral" album and a nice solo over a heavy and sombre, almost epic doom undertone to end the song).

For something tagged as stoner/psychedelic doom metal album, this release is actually pretty clean sounding. Don't get me wrong though, the riffs are still all there, and the groove even makes an appearance whenever you need it. These things have just been swept under a rug of tight songwriting and wonderfully crafted atmosphere. If you're the type who likes to wander out of the confines of stoner doom sometimes, then you need to give Inferno (XII)'s "Call Of Kia" a couple of listens. It may be challenging, but it won't disappoint.

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Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Call Of Kia
2. Phantom Hold
3. Spawn In The Fear
4. Subramanya
5. The Illusion Of Blake
6. Which Burns Forever
7. Snake
8. Demon Food

Duration : Approx. 61 minutes

Visit the Inferno (XII) bandpage.

Reviewed on 2013-05-09 by Matt Zuchowski
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