Infex – Burning in Exile (Album Review)

Bay Area thrash metal is alive and well. During pandemic times ‘these old dudes playing metal’ have stepped into the studio, fed their hearts with worldly cynicism, and laced their instruments with cyanide to create their music inspired by the thrash, speed, and death metal they grew up on.

As with any good plans made during the pandemic the plans got altered to suit the ongoing conditions. With recording due to start in March 2020 at Trident Studios in Martinez, CA (Machine Head, Vio-Lence, Testament, Exodus) they had to adapt to the ongoing restrictions.

Recordings were then spaced out leaving them seething separately hence the name of the album ‘Burning in Exile’. Juan Urteaga produced, engineered, mixed and mastered the album. The album was released on 13 August 2021.

The guys have said that they never set out to re-create any one genre of music but rather play the music that inspires them.
As such there are a variety of styles on here but predominantly featuring thrash, speed, and death metal.

The album cover is a refreshing take on demons and fire. A distraught demon shackled up while possibly burning in flames is a great representation of getting back what you gave. Whether he is in pain from the flames or not is perhaps something that could be discussed while the album plays in the background. The demons face is strangely humanly ovoid and lacks the completely grotesque appearance that is normal. With wispy long locks and the head shape being slightly ovoid you actually sympathise with this demon; despite the soulless eyes, as this could have been a front-row fan at an Iron Maiden concert that made some bad choices in life like wearing a Justin Beiber t-shirt one time in public. Is he also missing a horn?

The music is thrashy with riff-driven music in a raw form. The opening track ‘Blood of the Wicked’ opens up a wicked sick build-up of power before sending throwing nails into your ears. The tone of the guitars are muddy and grinding. Guitar squeals and screeches permeate the album like bullet holes in street signs shot by a sniper. Layered guitars give the impression of a 5 or 6 piece band, unless they had the demon play on the album. More thought-provoking stuff. The second track, ‘The Burning’, gives us a duelling solo series followed by a bass-heavy intro in ‘Exiled’ with melodic headbanging breakdown in the middle. Solos possibly won’t be as memorable as they just seem to furious attempts to showcase soloing skills but didn’t add up to what the riffs provided.

Vocals are very throughout the album so you might not know what song you might get. For instance, ‘Exiled’ carries a thrashy grinding vocal whereas the following song ‘Acid Reign’ carries a death metal vibe. The styles are quite different so I found I was partial to one style over the other but craving diversity in an album is often sought and they have provided this.
‘Legions of Hate’ stands out as a song that comes in with all the elements that I enjoyed in the album with manic riffs, powering drums, and charismatic vocals.

Infex derives musical inspiration from many genres and has set to create an album that has no boundaries. While thrash and death metal pervades the majority of the album their punk sense of humour shines through with punk riffed up song ‘Beer Run’. If you are at a house party or perhaps a Hash Harriers meetup and the beer Esky runs dry the album cover makes more sense. Opening the Esky and it’s nothing but avoid the anguish felt of being shackled to potential sobriety would be intense. Preparation is the underlying message here and a great tip for any stage in life. Thanks, guys.

The last song opens up with the first verse of the Rifleman’s Creed (created by Major General William H.

Rupertus during WWII) said in a tragic scene of Full Metal Jacket where the broken man descends into hell. The song then follows with the speed of the 7.62 calibre bullet the gun fires expressing the madness of the situation whereby a man thinks he can break free from the oppression with violence shown in the following lyrics “from this chamber I have broken free”. But in the end, only leads to tragedy.

A great song in context.

This is an album that is set to full throttle in a few different cars. All the elements work well together and with more time listening to the album you’ll pick up little bits of flavour here and there that you never noticed before.

1. Blood of the Wicked
2. The Burning
3. Exiled
4. Acid Reign
5. The Abyss
6. Legions of Hate
7. Torn Apart
8. Beer Run
9. 7.62

Infex: Facebook

Release Year: 2021
Label: self-released
Category: Album
Country: USA

Reviewed by Byron Lotz