Infernal Majesty - NONE SHALL DEFY

If you were to look up "badass" in the dictionary, you...probably wouldn't find it because it's considered slang. Let's assume that it was an actual word for a moment, shall we? If you were to look it up in the dictionary, you would see the album cover pasted above. Infernal Majesty's None Shall Defy is a landmark achievement in extreme metal. It's one of the most underrated albums of all time. I have no earthly idea why this record isn't referenced alongside Reign in Blood and Altars of Madness as required listening for real metalheads. Badass indeed. IM were one of the first bands to play what would become black metal. It wasn't just black metal, though. It was blackened thrash/death metal. Think Slayer mongrelized with Possessed and Morbid Angel.
Regrettably, IM didn't release a follow-up until 1998, which may have factored into their obscurity. If these guys had remained active throughout the late 80's and at least the early 90's, they would have a Venom-sized cult following. None Shall Defy is an immaculate debut. The production is flawless, the riffs are ominous, the songwriting is top-notch, and the vocals seethe with antagonism. Don't let the woozy album cover throw you off (is that Puff the Magic Dragon?); this stuff is dead-serious. As a fairly simple-minded heathen, I admit to being drawn to IM's Satanic image. The lyrics are over the top and the songtitles are so metal. I know that it's cliched, but I can't help it...I love that nonsense!

Album opener "Overlord" is beyond heavy. The chorus churns out a megalithic riff that sprawls itself out over a driving, yet discombobulated beat. The second track is a passive instrumetal that leads into the epic "Night of the Living Dead." "S.O.S." loses me just a bit until the title track pulls me back in. This one builds on eerie melodies and finds its strength in guitar work, a trait that most black metal bands omit in favor of raw, animalistic effrontery. I'd say that "None Shall Defy" is my favorite song, although I have a soft spot for album closer "Hell on Earth." This isn't a perfect collection of skull-crushers, but overall, it has a special something that I look for in every CD that I pop into my boombox. I can't describe it.
Of course, if you're familiar with this band, you know what I'm talking about. You can certainly find None Shall Defy online, but if for some miraculous reason you see it offline, pick that fucker up. If you see it on vinyl, mail it to me. You can have my first-born child. Infernal Majesty released a solid album in 2005 called One Who Points to Death. For a veteran band that has only cobbled three records together, they still sound relevant and incredibly angry. They could be seen as the first band to combine thrash, death, and black metal. Why hasn't anyone heard of them? It's a cruel, cruel world. Pay your respects.

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