The album title Enlightened By Lucifer’s Flame leaves little doubt as to Infernal Awakening‘s style and purpose. True to the artist I reckon has most inspired them, Infernal Awakening‘s technical chops are impressive; Tempest’s cluttered, biting riffs get the right sort of aggression across, and Anchalagon’s drumwork is impressive, for his speed and punishment of the snare. In spite of this obvious grasp of technique, I can’t help but feel Enlightened By Lucifer’s Flame sounds pretty cheap in the way it is arranged and produced. A lot of this has to do with their symphonic side. Keyboardist Amdusia’s synth tone sounds dull and generic, and the symphonic embellishments rarely amount to more than a kitschy backdrop to the rest of the music. The way Infernal Awakening have added symphonic orchestrations atop already busy guitar parts runs closely parallel with Fleshgod Apocalypse, but in this case, neither the symphonics nor the metal elements succeed enough to make it work.
Tempest’s riffs are easily the strongest part of Infernal Awakening; both as a rhythm and lead player, he shows a similar versatility to Emperor‘s Ihsahn. In fact, many of the best ideas on Enlightened By Lucifer’s Flame occur when Infernal Awakening try something apart from the burstfire speed and technique. The best example of this is midway into “The Baphomet ov Mendes”, in which Infernal Awakening take an Oriental-sounding riff and slow themselves down just enough to give the idea weight and import. The risk pays off; it’s the only part of the album that really sticks with me after it’s over. “Transcending to Shadows” closes the album on a similarly atypical note, with a melodic solo and a tempo that gives the synthesizer enough room to breathe.
There’s a handful of strong moments like this throughout the album; as for the majority of the album, the constant breakneck pace on Enlightened By Lucifer’s Flame isn’t mitigated by the depth of atmosphere necessary to keep it engaging. While the riffs are often technical and intricate, the songwriting is messy and in need of some dynamics.
I could see Infernal Awakening making their beloved Emperor-style burstfires potentially succeed, but in order to do that, they would need to balance it out with something softer. Even giving the speed some better context with memorable hooks and songwriting would have done the album wonders.
As it stands, Enlightened By Lucifer’s Flame is a troubled album that probably could and should have been a fair deal better than it is. The symphonic arrangements are simplified to the point of making themselves irrelevant, and the cheap-sounding synth tone doesn’t help things. The guitar parts are technically impressive, but lack tact and focus. Infernal Awakening are a textbook case of a band with technical skills aplenty, but without the memorable writing to validate it. There are a legion of bands that sound quite similar to this, and many of them have made better albums than this.
01) Enlightened by Lucifer’s Flame
02) The King ov Hell Has Arrived
04) The Baphomet ov Mendes
05) Transcending to Shadows