Ingrained - Ashes To Dust
Death Metal
6 songs (27:32)
Release year: 2006
Reviewed by Kayla

When one is young and in a band, there is a certain amount of flux that can be expected to occur in the lineup of said band. Occasionally this means that some positions are unfilled, and substitutes must be found until a more permanent solution comes along. This, unfortunately, is the fate that has befallen Swedish youngsters Ingrained; while the vocals are good and the guitarwork interesting enough, it’s backed by the constant blasting of a drum machine that gives an artificial sense of sloppiness to what should come across as a decent slab of death metal.

Ashes To Dust is a fairly straightforward album, Swedish-style death metal consisting of a mostly rolling sort of riff backed by a simpler bass line and the ubiquitous blast beats. The bass is almost anonymous, and buried in the mix and existing mostly to beef up the sound rather than contribute to the song in its own right. The guitarwork is precise and shows flashes of technicality, especially in the solos, though it tends to follow the same basic pattern from song to song. The vocals are mostly delivered in a deep, harsh growl, with a higher growl occasionally swooping in to accent. The higher growl is used fairly exclusively as an added layer; it never gets to carry the vocals alone. This is fine, as it simply adds another facet to the vocals without over-complicating them; with the rest of the song being so straightforward, there’s not a lot of need for fancy vocal tricks. The most noticible deviation from the death metal standard comes at the end of the last track, Beyond Redemption. It fades into a descending set of notes that mimic the Egyptian-touched sound of Nile; it’s a nicely sinister way to end the album.

The biggest problem is, of course, the drumming. There’s almost nothing to it; a fill rises up now and again, but it’s mostly four and a half minutes of constant, flat beats. Hardly surprising, of course, with a machine. It takes a real talent to be able to use a drum machine well; The Berzerker has shown it’s possible, but Ingrained isn’t looking to use the machine well, just to use it as a stand-in for a human. This leads to some very uneven musical passages; for example, a slower, more deliberate passage in Deceit Of Existence, wherein the guitar, bass and vocals all act as heavy, infernal wrecking balls, is backed by a flurry of blasting, when the drums should have been transformed into the hammer of the gods themselves. Instead, they act as a distraction, undercutting the power of the rest of the passage.

Ashes To Dust is one of those releases that shows more potential than it realizes. As soon as they lose the drum machine, pick up a human to handle the sticks, and start writing some real drum material, they’ll have something that can stand on its own in the genre. Until then, there’s better choices in Swedish death metal.

Killing Songs :
Scorn Renewal
Kayla quoted 57 / 100
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