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Salad Days Magazine | May 23, 2024

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Infant Island share merciless new single ‘Unrelenting’

Infant Island share merciless new single ‘Unrelenting’
Salad Days

The song appears on ‘Obsidian Wreath’, out January 12th on Secret Voice.

‘Obsidian Wreath’, the forthcoming third album from Fredericksburg, VA’s Infant Island, is an album about trudging through the end of the world: where climate catastrophe, the acceleration of capitalist extractive exploitation, the apathy towards social health which has emerged from the pandemic, and an endless stream of ongoing crises too numerable to be named, constantly haunt the edges of our vision, like a rot that sets in on the borders of being. It’s an album about the hopelessness of the slow violent decay of the world, about reckoning with a totalizing, impossible condition of reality which never stops confronting you with the question: how do we continue? This is the question which Infant Island contends with, a question they meet with fervor, with ferocity, with a determination and clarity marked– sustained, even– by grief. Lyrically, musically, the album shifts between light and darkness, using such tropes and their accompanying affects not in their cliché forms as opposing forces, but as mutually determined states of being which implicate and deterritorialize the Other. There must be something beautiful that can emerge from something terrible – this kind of impossible hope, an optimism that only emerges only from the condition of absolute pessimism, guides the album’s thematic considerations. Perhaps this impossible faith has something to do with ‘Obsidian Wreath’ being a pandemic record – written in 2020 but releasing in 2024, the record’s slow birth reflects a force of will which was required to survive a global event which threatened the music industry and the people in it at every level. This contradictory pessimistic optimism is realized as well in Infant Island’s singular songwriting, which filters Virginia screamo through the melancholic furor of American Black Metal acts like Panopticon and Deafheaven. ‘Obsidian Wreath’ continues and advances the band’s masterful weaving of heavy genres, combining screamo and black metal with a deft movement between the sweeping emotionality of shoegazing post-metal, the hard-hitting grooviness of new-school grindcore, and the searing feedback of noise rock. Each composition flows seamlessly into the next, making this fluidity of sound feel not like an oscillation between styles, but instead like the tracing of the contours of a scene, as though Infant Island are tracing their own artistic singularity through the historicity and creative multiplicity of American extreme metal. One cannot shake the feeling that this is music born from a desire for community – where we are accompanied through this world not only by our friends and family but by the ghosts, the historical presences we feel but remain forever out of sight, that we unwittingly follow every day. Produced again by Virginia legend Matthew Michel (Majority Rule, Nø Man); with guest spots from Harper Boyhtari and Logan Gaval (Greet Death) on ‘Kindling’, Andrew Schwartz (.gif from god) on ‘Another Cycle’; and with contributions from members of Undeath, King Yosef, For Your Health, Senza, Malevich, Mikau, and more – one can’t help but feel that sense of community. Infant Island invites you into a scene, welcoming despite all its aesthetic harshness. ‘Obsidian Wreath’ is a relentless, furious, and ever-shifting composition which coheres around expert composition and a single-minded interrogation of how we can possibly continue living in the state of this planet.

‘Obsidian Wreath’ tracklisting:

Another Cycle
Found Hand
Clawing, Still
With Shadow

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