INFERNO Brings Astral Chaos on Paradeigma (Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity)

             Metal continues thriving in Czechia as the long-standing INFERNO returns with their eighth full-length opus titled Paradeigma (Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity). This shadowy manifestation moves further from the traditional sound of their works up through 2009’s Black Devotion, and deeper into the Avant-Garde direction beginning with 2013’s Omniabsence Filled by His Greatness. A hallucinogenic amalgam of deep space and underworldly influences takes form through various instrumental and atmospheric effects while maintaining an inner blackened resolve. These elements craft Paradeigma into a boundlessly imaginative trip through cosmic hellscapes that haunt and captivate.

            A venture into the unknown commences with brooding progressions and otherworldly effects on “Decaying Virtualities Yearn for Asymptopia” before the suffocating guitars, blast beats, and spectral atmospherics of “The Wailing Horizon” take hold. This oppression briefly subsides, but then proceeds through a series of haunting arrangements after returning with the disembodied roar of vocals. Menacing impressions develop within the heaviness as a rush of phantasmic voices and effects traverse sections of mid-paced groove, doom, and blasting fury. This compositional density continues with an unsettling cosmic ambience on “Descent into Hell of the Future.” Guitar and drum rhythms collectively build toward an unraveling whirl of instrumental distortions consistent with the fleeting perceptions of altered consciousness. Industrial notes and a gloomy hook effect are also discerned as intervallic riffing patterns carry the sinister tone of these elements through foreboding passages of infinite blackness.

            Dismal riffing precedes the nightmarish intensity that develops on “Phosphenes,” and various guitar effects, sparce depressive drumming, and the tortured expressions of spectral voices all contribute to this ominous despair. Bleak melodies gradually materialize followed by entrancing drums, and this leads to guitar melodies and atmospheric elements harmonizing on “Ekstasis of the Continuum.” A mid-paced heaviness forms the basis of an energy development within the procession of ethereal effects, voices, and other melodic progressions. These dynamics reemerge after a gloomy break and culminate in an epic mass of choral voices, intricate drumming, and evocative hooks. Blast beats drive this force into decisive elemental formulations on “Stars Within and Stars Without Projected into the Matrix of Time.” There are shifts in melody and groove as the brooding immensity progresses through an ambient cosmic interlude, and layers of incorporeal effects that build toward a climactic impact. A moment of desolate calm follows, but the dread resumes with riffage and blasts until conclusive notes drift into the ends of existence.

            The subject matter of Paradeigma matches the depth of its music with lyrics that draw on various scientific, philosophical, and occult influences. Musical impressions of the underworld are reinforced with scenes of “the painful wonder from the world of shadows and woes” on “The Wailing Horizon.” This track also focuses on the unformed beginnings of creative energies and their progression into patterns of the past as they flow through time. This continues with “the current of coming and departing thoughts” on “Descent into Hell of the Future” along with the dual imprinting of triumphs and failures on the patterns as cycles repeat. Dualities are also present as energy dissipates and renews on “Phosphenes,” and it shows a transcendence of duality when explaining how the beginning and end points of these cyclic processes become the same when time is removed. There is also an intriguing reference to “the authority of the one and only that experienced stillness and existence before existence.”

             A vast portrayal comes with “the eternally rich universe unfolds again in the heavens, in the underworlds, and in the worlds beyond” on “Ekstasis of the Continuum” while describing the separation of what was united. Another perspective on the various states of creative energies is shown with an affirmation from Abraxas that includes “ I am force, duration, and change.” These states also appear on “Stars Within and Stars Without Projected into the Matrix of Time” along with functions of the subconscious and their relation to the universe. There is much to contemplate in the words and music of these songs, and this summary represents a limited and probably very flawed interpretation of their contents. There’s a permeating cognizance of quantum mechanics and the power of the subconscious while including other theoretical aspects of the cosmos, time, and perception. While it’s impossible to fully comprehend the mysteries of the universe, this work offers a fascinating conceptualization of these theories. A recent interview with members of the band also reveals some of the sources that inspired the album’s themes and its overall creative process.

            INFERNO have pushed their expansive boundaries even further with Paradeigma (Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity). Time is needed to fully explore these dense and sometimes disorienting compositions, but as the title suggests, there are many patterns of horror and wonder to be found within the chaos. It creates a dynamic atmosphere that’s like traveling through astral realms surrounding the bottomless depths of Hades and the infinite cosmos above, within, and without. Paradeigma is an innovative work that transcends these dualities for an experience that simultaneously frightens and enlightens.

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