PICK OF THE WEEK: Death, doom unload into Innumerable Forms’ hammering ‘Punishment in Flesh’

One of the best parts of the summer is the immersive, dark, foreboding thunderstorms, where the clouds thicken like a metallic dome, rain saturates the ground, and it feels like death is imminent. There’s something about being at nature’s mercy, and despite being pretty sure you’ll survive, you’re just not quite sure.

That rumbling horror is something that also can be felt in “Punishment in Flesh,” the debut record from death/doom maulers Innumerable Forms. Their amalgamation of early death metal and doom metal, two forms that were morphing alongside each other a little more than two decades ago, is thick and rich, feeling like that heavy summer storm that’s about to open its mouth and deliver destruction. The band initially was helmed entirely by Justin DeTore, known for his work in Sumerlands, Magic Circle, and Mind Eraser, as well as the hardcore and powerviolence scenes, as he handled everything for the band’s early recordings. Now, DeTore has a powerhouse of a band alongside him including guitarists Chris Ulsh (Mammoth Grinder, Power Trip) and Jensen Ward (Iron Lung), bassist Doug Cho (The Rival Mob), and drummer Connor Donnegan (Genocide Pact) to fully realize this vision and bring to it and even deadlier, bloodier stranglehold.

“Intruders” opens the record in weird mechanical whirring and overall strangeness before cutting into “Punishment in Flesh” and its lurching doom. DeTore’s growls crawl painfully through the muck while the band hits a fury, delivering ripping solos amid all the tar that’s building up beneath them. “Petrified” is faster and just as ugly, as it punches holes in the walls and fills them with meaty muscle. The growls scrape, while the music wrenches, and slurry soloing rushes to the track’s charred end. “Purity’s Demand” stampedes, as anguish is poured by the buckets, the track enters into cavernous hell that chills, and soloing lights up the place and threatens to burn it down. Noise then rushes to the surface to quake the ground and set the stage for “Reality,” which drops the doom hammer right away. The first part is steeped in Sabbath worship, but then the tempo jams the gas pedal, jerking your neck in the process. We settle back to slow and sweltering again later, as DeTore’s growls gurgle out.

“Re-Contaminated” has noise stinging ears, while DeTore’s growls rumble, and the pace of the song starts clubbing you hard. The riffs are thick and penetrating, and later DeTore’s approach bludgeons you amid slurry guitar work designed to disorient. The punishment continues in full until it finally fades into the background. “Stress Starvation” has gnarly riffs, as it rips open and unleashes its violence. The track is nasty and fiery, coming to a furious end that will hammer your body. “Joyless” is mauling and pretty indicative of its title, with doomy formations settling overhead and threatening devastation. The growls grind in the dirt, while noise rings out, the guitars charge, and a scorching menace of a final burst turns out the lights. “Firmament” is an instrumental cut built with calculating riffs, trudging madness, and melodies slowly dissolving into time, leading to finale “Meaning” that revels in classic doom waters. DeTore’s forceful “oof!” pushes open the gates, and the band follows with an assault that swims back and forth from aggressive to humid, with the riffs getting sickening, chaos building, and a giant cloud of ash threatening suffocation.

Innumerable Form’s debut offering “Punishment in Flesh” lives up to its name, as it’s a mix of classic death metal and doom that lets loose its fair share of unforgiving destruction. It’s a record that should please all of those whose hair is now graying a bit (or a lot) about the days when the roots were sown, but it won’t abandon anyone who has come into these filthy sections lately. This is a pummeling record, one that’ll ensure you end the summer with heavy blackened eyes.

For more on the band, go here: https://innumerableforms.bandcamp.com/

To buy the album, go here: https://profoundlorerecords.merchtable.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.profoundlorerecords.com/

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