The album The Silent Epidemic from Norwegian band Insense is truly a masterpiece! From the very first notes of Welcome Whore, this record oozes of quality and attention to detail. The sound quality is great; all instruments are crystal clear and well levelled.
The Silent Epidemic is the band’s third album. According to the press material for the album, it’s “faster, harder, deeper, cleaner, angrier!”
I disagree. In my mind there is a lot of love on this album. I always get a big smile on my face when listening to it. To me it’s like Insense has reached into the very essence of hardcore metal and composed 10 brilliant songs out of all the good stuff they found there. And yet they managed to add just that twist of originality that makes it worthwhile to listen to again and again.
They even have a sense of humour: “I will marinate your goddamn remains” from The Erosion of Oslo is a line I’ll not soon forget!
So what’s it like then? Normally I don’t do name-dropping, but in this case I feel compelled to make an exception: It really sounds like Pantera music being played by Tool to me. There, I said it. And in the ever ongoing battle between normal play vs. shuffle (Thomas), I reluctantly feel I have to grant a point to normal play too (more about that later). So much for my principles…
The technical standard is very high, both when it comes to instrument handling and tightness, but especially when it comes to song writing and composing. Every single riff on the entire album feels cared for and distinct. There is simply no filler anywhere. It’s all inspired. Even the insanely fast thrash parts of The Worst Is Yet To Come and 175.000 are served with a sense of majestic coolness. The last song, Time Wounds All Heals, really wraps it all up in a sort of “…and they lived happily ever after” – feeling, that is not one bit cheezy.
The album does have a few minor shortcomings after all: Lead singer Tommy Hjelm clearly has trouble when singing with his clean voice. This is most evident in the title song where he tries to go way over his register, and the result is of course thereafter. Another quirk is that throughout the last song there is a constant noise over the acoustic bits that sound a bit like it was recorded in the rain. Perhaps it is intended (I don’t think so), but it gets annoying after a while. These two things, however, do not ruin the overall impression of this great album.