When you listen to the debut by newcomers The Infinity Ring, you might come to the same point as yours truly: I got lost in thoughts and images. Many of them of scenes long gone and vanished in time, some of them decades ahead in an unknown future. Both directions shared one thing – the same soundtrack: Nemesis & Nativity by the New England-based band which is able to connect both “periods” by means of music from the present!
”I have seen the rosary …” - the first words one hears from mastermind Cameron drip out of the speakers (or from the headphones into your ears) and from moment on, there is no way out. The opening track ”Crown of Stars” is wonderful dark folk and only after several minutes it becomes clear that the church on the cover of the record has a deeper meaning not only lyrically but also musically. And here we are already deep in one of the many positive elements of this record – the sound or rather the soundscape: many songs sound as if they have been recorded in a huge church with a lot of space for the sound to fill, to meander in and to come back to the listener. Additionally it also becomes clear that this record is also a Gothic one. Not in the Gothic Metal sense but rather in attitude, or also a kind of instrumentation wise.
When we remember that many “Medieval Metal” bands (be it Black Metal acts like Funereal Presence or Folk Metal as found on the earliest releases by Moonspell) also have a knack for incorporating instruments from the period like the medieval version of a Turkish Crescent (or Schellenbaum in German), one can hear a certain parallel. While listening to several of the tracks like ”Tiferet II” one might have the idea of listening to that very instruments because of the slow tempo and the things we add to what is actually hear, e.g. some tambourine-like sounds always on top of the bass drum. However, Cameron re-assured me that no such instrument was used during the production of this record. Thus we see how much our ears add to what is actually there – and to me, that is not a bad thing as such, because often that shows how music can transport us back to points when we heard the very same thing first. That way, timeless music can be created – and that is surely true for Nemesis & Nativity and one thing that surely adds to that are the vocals.
Cameron’s vocals are somewhere between Nick Cave, David Eugene Edwards and (most of all) Mark Lanegan; one might have worse comparisons. He is a natural born storyteller whose vocals embrace us and slowly lead us to where he wants the listener to take place. Of course, this post-modern way of storytelling still has its roots, like any form of music-accompanied storytelling, in the periods when the Gothic was the thing in architecture.
However, please do not mistake The Infinity Ring for a novelty act, because they are not, there is no twinkle-twinkle, wink-wink in their eyes. The music is NOW, is modern, and not outdated (how should it be, if it is timeless?) - take the fourth track, ”Gift of Life” for example: the track slowly builds up until a kind of feverish guitar solo spins our head round and tries to scream “This is not the Dark Ages! This is 2023!” ”Orpheus Dragonfly Satyr” might have a pretty “old” name, but the track radiates a very different kind of atmosphere – nearly industrious with a “beat” like an assembly line shaking in its course and some background noises like the factory horn. And then the next track, ”Lazarus Millennium Sun” sounds like pure Industrial Post-Metal closer to Godflesh than Neurosis and always with the kind of stomping beat that the British pioneers are known for, combining harsh kicks on the drums with pretty clean but distorted guitar lines to make the “hits” even more powerful!
You see, there are many things to discover on the debut by the Infinity Ring and maybe it has also become clear that the band’s name is somewhat programmatic as they transport us effortlessly through time – showing that anything and everything can “come back” and nothing is lost to a certain time and date. History is a cycle of ebb and flow, of action – reaction – repetition; and this cycle, of course, has no finite end. It is the infinity ring.