Prepared for the worst, I was caught completely off-guard when the first notes of Swedish death metal came out of the speakers. This was the good stuff, in the vein of Dismember, Grave, and Entombed – you know, the non-melodic kind. However, after my first listen, I was ready to write Facebreaker off as uninteresting and derivative, more like Fleshcrawl than any of the aforementioned bands. But as I listened more and more to Infected, it left more of an impression than Soulskinner ever did.
I may have the benefit of not having dug too deep into this subgenre in my time – although it is probably my favorite type of death metal – but I’m not going to let that affect my outlook here. This is just really fun to listen to, played in a great old school style by a bunch of guys who came up through it (the members’ collective resume includes bands like Edge of Sanity, Ashes, and No Fucking God). From the hypnotic rhythmic grooves of “ Cannibalistic,” the churning dirge of “Epidemic,” or the blasting attack of “Waiting For The Pain,” the album throbs with a vibe that shows they are making metal for metal’s sake, ignoring any and all current movements within the genre and doing both what comes naturally and is true to themselves as metal musicians.
If any fault is to be found with Infected, it is in the last 3-4 tracks of the album. “Into the Pit” teeters between the lively and the lifeless but is generally acceptable (how could a metal song called “Into the Pit” not be, after all?) Those that follow it though definitely lean on the dull side, and I found myself anxiously awaiting them to be over so I could cycle back to the beginning of the album and resume whatever angry activity I was engaged in to the strains of “Creeping Flesh.”
This isn’t Facebreaker’s first time to the dance, and hopefully it won’t be their last. Now with three albums under their belt (and shame on me for not knowing this, especially with those previous albums having been reviewed at this very site) since forming back in 1999, and with the mighty Metal Blade promotional machine behind them, they seem poised to carve out their own little niche in the metal world with Infected. Either that or they’ll share another trait with Fleshcrawl – a quiet, unceremonious fade into obscurity.