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Iniquity is one of those bands that on paper sounds almost too good to be true. They're a tech death band, famed for their elaborate and highly indulgent solos, yet they still somehow manage to have that vicious blood-splattered, puke-stinking quality that so often evades the more technical side of the scene. That's probably because they aren't scared to just be brutal--crushing riffs and back-breaking drums are the meat-and-potatoes of this band, with technicality thrashing in and out like a writhing serpent. This layered quality (layered, in the same sense that the piled bodies in a mass grave are layered) really helps prevent INIQUITY from being a mere exercise in onanistic guitar-noodling, a trap many of their modern contemporaries (RINGS OF SATURN) have fallen into.

Lyricwise, this band is exquisitely disturbing. Quite frankly, I don't recommend reading them. Butchered English aside, there's some extremely creepy ideas here, and often expressed surprisingly well for a band who clearly aren't particularly familiar with the written word. I'm honestly glad that they went for the 'alien bug monsters and mad scientists engineering zombie gfs' angle as opposed to the typical 'hail Satan, rape virgins approach.' Not because I have any particular preference for one over the other, but because the kind of cliched Satanic lyrics that Death Metal is famous for really wouldn't have worked with INIQUITY's style. The huge, crunchy, dissonant riffs, with otherworldly guitar solos lurching in and out of existence between the verses, evokes oozing cosmic horror, not 80s Satanism.

So the guitar is great. The drumming is great. The lyrics are horrifying. The production--it's pretty good. Sometimes a bit too crisp for my taste. Someone was cleaning the dirt out of the tracks, that's all I'm saying. And I don't like that. Bands like INIQUITY thrive on sounding dirty while still having the notes and drums coming out clear as a bell. Damian Herring from HORRENDOUS is particularly good at pulling off this kind of mix. (If that sounds self-contradictory,
listen to 2018's RIPPED TO SHREDS. A great example of what I'm talking about.)

Similar to the production, I have mixed feelings about the vocals. They just aren't very remarkable. More brutal than the typical cookie-monster growls, but they still have that thin, watery quality. It's not that I hate the guttural-gurgling type vocals. I just don't really care one way or the other. Personally, I'm an LG Petrov guy: I love those agonized shrieks on ENTOMED's seminal
Left Hand Path. Back when death metal bands could have more 'human' sounding screams without getting accused of being thrash.

So, what should you listen to? All three of their official releases,
Serenadium, The Hidden Lore, and Five Across The Eyes, are excellent. Personally, The Hidden Lore is my favorite. Possibly just because of that awesome album art, but also because it's a good mix between the crushing brutality of Serenadium and the screaming technicality of Five Across the Eyes. Five Across the Eyes, interestingly, has a hidden gem tucked away at the end of the limited edition digipack: an absolute banger of a song known as Cocooned. And Cocooned, incidentally, is taken from a side project starring two of INIQUITY's former members: a short-lived band with the endearingly oh-so-death-metal name SWOLLEN.

Remember what I said about wishing INIQUITY had slightly better vocals and production? Well, SWOLLEN's demo tapes have that in spades. The
98' promo release version of Cocooned absolutely DESTROYS! To bad literally no one on planet earth seems to own a copy of the original tape. The only surviving remnant of this genius little demo is a compilation CD featuring Cocooned and several other non-SWOLLEN tech death songs. Some fanzine pressed it back in the 90s, I forget the name.

So there you have it. The weirdest, scariest, most soul-crushingly violent technical death band out there. Listen at your own risk, and don't be surprised if you find slimy bug-demons creeping under your bed next Friday night.


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