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Inherus - Beholden review


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Band: Inherus
Album: Beholden
Style: Doom metal, Post-metal
Release date: May 2023

01. Forgotten Kingdom
02. One More Fire
03. The Dagger
04. Oh Brother
05. Obliterated In The Face Of Gods
06. Lie To The Angels

Across the likes of Lotus Thief, Forlesen and Botanist, Beth Gladding (aka Bezaelith) has demonstrated an inclination towards music that is atmospheric and/or unusual; her latest project Inherus continues this trend.

Gladding joined a project initially formed by Anthony DiBlasi (Witchkiss), Brian Harrigan (Swallow The Ocean) and Andrew Vogt (Lotus Thief, Swallow The Ocean), and the sludgy, doomy natures of Witchkiss and Swallow The Ocean give a good indication of what this group have come up with on debut release Beholden. Clocking in at an hour long with only 6 songs (one of which is a brief interlude), we are very much in Long Song Territory, and these long, generally slow tracks have a clear emphasis on complex atmosphere and texture.

Stylistically, this album could potentially be classed as ‘post-doom’, in that there’s a doomy undercurrent running through the record, and also various elements of song structure and instrumental approaches from post-metal, but it has more in its arsenal as well. Opening track “Forgotten Kingdom” doesn’t really sound like it’s in either camp when it starts with a straight-up rocking sludge riff. There are some subtle tremolo layers woven into sections of the song, but it’s only really later on that it moves from such a conventional approach towards something more intriguing, as it segues into a gloomy, soft atmospheric midsection that crescendos towards a post-metal climax.

There’s three vocalists on this album, with everyone bar drummer Andrew Vogt chipping in. The two male vocalists both opt for extreme approaches, whether growls or higher-register rasps, but it’s really the sections in which Gladding contributes that come to define one’s impression of the record. There are certainly hints of Lotus Thief’s sound in songs here, but something about the understated, ominous cleans amidst doomy, sludgy soundscapes makes one more inclined to think of SubRosa, even if there’s no strings to be heard. The music here isn’t necessarily always gloomy in the same way SubRosa typically were either; parts of “One More Fire” are almost uplifting tonally between the tender vocals and soaring guitar leads (although the gnarlier riffs and harsher vocals later on put paid to some of those thoughts).

Those harsher moments do feel less prevalent as the record progresses; the dark-sounding closer “Lie To The Angels” does have some segments that flirt with death/doom with the slow riffs and cavernous growls, but outside of those sections the last few songs emphasize Gladding’s sections more. That’s not to mean that there aren’t heavy parts still; outside of the growling doom moments in “Lie To The Angels”, there’s a part later on with rampaging double bass rolls and sinister guitar leads that remind me a bit of Wolvennest’s The Storm EP, aptly ratcheting up the intensity while the record powers towards a climax.

In between, there’s a bit more chance for minor experimentation, as Inherus dabble with sounds closer to prog and alt rock; “The Dagger” is framed around post-metal structures with some resemblance to Eternal Kingdom-era Cult Of Luna, but its latter stretches feel closer to atmospheric and gothic rock, particularly when first gothic-style guitar leads take centre stage in the mix, and then Gladding’s haunting refrains subsequently take over. “Oh Brother” also has some ear-catching guitar leads, but they’re more bright-sounding than those on “The Dagger”, even if this song otherwise relies more on crunching heaviness and backing extreme vocals.

Beholden is a really solid first outing for Inherus, one that has a familiarity to it without falling comfortably into any one category, and it also has the quality songwriting to go with the creativity. There’s no duff tracks here, but perhaps there is some padding here that could be trimmed, given how lengthy the album is; “One More Fire” and “Oh Brother”, despite bringing a necessary sense of levity that’s otherwise absent from the tracklist, are a bit less consistently engaging than the other long tracks. Still, there’s nothing here that is ever actively detracting from the experience, and when Inherus are truly on song, such as with “The Dagger” and “Lie To The Angels”, they're just as compelling as you’d expect them to be, based on the talent they have in their ranks.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 7

Written on 15.06.2023 by Hey chief let's talk why not

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