Ingested – The Tide of Death and Fractured Dreams Review

If you haven’t heard an Ingested album at this point, it’s that you’re new to the scene as a nerdy metal aficionado or that you’ve actively avoided all music labeled as deathcore for the past fifteen or so years. Unfortunately, if you found your head bobbing in extreme reluctance at the whiplash grooves and squeal-driven breakdowns that adorn the newest Aborted release, you should probably consider checking out the odd act or two. Ingested’s 2018 release, as well as some of their earliest work, would be easy, enjoyable listening,1 as release after release has proven through slam-smacked and bass-boosted pit encouragement that Ingested deserves at least an enthusiastic participation award if not an honorary metal of sweaty-backed chuggery. With drop-tuned riff in one hand and half-time hoedown in the other, this UK flagship simply can’t stop releasing these easy-to-digest packages of low-rent violence. But, you know, just because they can…

Now, I’m not saying Ingested shouldn’t make another album. Opinions differ across the blogosphere but the general Angry Metal Reaction is one of consistency but not always the good kind. Though 2022’s Ashes Lie Still went unreviewed in these halls, it saw an increased melancholy shift in the long-running groove, shuffle, slow down, and repeat formula—a brand that this act has helped further popularize and beat to death—with a focus on introducing lingering, waning melodies into heavyweight chugcraft. The results did not yield the most intense variety of makeover, but diversity can be the spice of an extending discography, and Ingested’s catalog sorely needed a refresh. In that sense, The Tide of Death and Fractured Dreams continues this mild evolution.

The Tide of Death and Fractured Dreams by Ingested

When Ingested does commit to further integrating a memorable, downcast aesthetic into TToDaFD, it’s easy to latch onto what this iteration of the band does well. Again writing as a three piece,2 the strongest songs play off a forward guitar melody in a mope-down atmosphere. Leaning on droning calls over slow-saw riffs (“Where No Light Shines,” “Starve the Fire”) like a beatdown-inclined Gojira, these kinds of moody affairs add a shade to Ingested’s repertoire that sticks out like a sad thumb. And though there’s a tease of clean croons both in “Starve the Fire” and the guest alt-inflected croon of Chimaira’s Mark Hunter on “In Nothingness,” monster closer “A Path Once Lost” sees a dreary, well-layered intro over echoing guitar line that turns a soft, chorus backing into a full feature highlight. Coupled with a melody that whips and warps through somber burn and full-weight slam, it’s a testament to what Ingested offers in full creative bloom.

However, the deathcore-forward majority of TToDaFD remains faceless in its familiarity, both to itself and to modern deathcore at large. Part of the issue rests in the crushed production job, which hides any nuance that might exist between the predictable hammering riffs and unwavering pop of power snare, all resulting in a predictable breakdown pattern. Vocalist Jay Evans does his best to keep his snarls, flutters, spits, and other techniques vicious to provide forward movement, but his prowess isn’t enough to add a whole arc of tension and release throughout. And though the well-constructed instrumental “Numinous” provides a welcome breather, it’s sandwiched in a segment that happens to already have a bit more space, pushing its good intentions closer to a pause than a refresh.

If the simple appeal of ferocious vocals and no-frills pit-riffing fills your void, then you probably already enjoy Ingested to a high degree. Maybe you’ve already seen them live too, where this style excels, primitive and pounding. Ingested maintains a healthy commitment to putting this act in front of the masses, and that earnest attitude, along with an unending desire to find that slam that just slams right (yo) keeps me hoping for the UK stalwarts to turn the page on a sleeper hit. The Tide of Death and Fractured Dreams has enough wrinkles to show that they haven’t given up on pushing themselves toward that goal either, but its limits in coloring outside the lines show that inside the lines is where Ingested still feels most comfortable. And with so many other bands in that market, that’s just not enough.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Metal Blade Records | Bandcamp
Websites: | ingested.bandcamp.com3
Releases Worldwide: April 5th, 2024

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