Immortal Bird- Empress/Abscess (Broken Limbs Recording)

Is this bird truly immortal?

Immortal Bird first caught my eye when I learned that they shared a guitarist with the shockingly talented Wilderun; a band that has managed to solidly hold onto my album of the year spot since I’d hear their last effort. So, I had to give Immortal Bird a go to see if any of that magic had rubbed off on them too. Rather than the silken, folksy tones of Wilderun however, what I got was quite a different beast indeed.

The band originates from Chicago and a look over their Bandcamp page tells that the band is “the result of choosing rage over sadness” which really is an apt description. Their music is geared toward the cathartic, containing a mishmash of genres and a willingness to push boundaries. No one seems to quite agree what they sound like; I’ve seen descriptors such as metallic hardcore, grindcore, blackened death and even progressive death metal thrown at them. What they do possess however, is a penchant for aggression. Take opener Neoplastic for example, it has a blackened feel to it but the riffs and aggression feel like something a band like Black Breath could come up with, perfect for moshing. On the other hand, closing track And Send Fire is a 10 minute long affair that contains droning and atmospherics amongst the grinding.

The song-writing here is taut, which is exactly the kind of quality a band releasing their debut should have. Something sharp, to the point and no excess flab. With just about half an hour’s worth of music, Empress/Abscess certainly achieves this. While maybe not every song manages to be a winner, there is enough evident talent and energy to keep things interesting. 

With a willingness to cross boundaries, attention to detail and a focus on decent album lengths, Immortal Bird is producing the kind of albums I want to hear more of in the metal world. While Empress/Abscess isn’t an instant all-time classic, it’s an enjoyable listen and even hints of greater potential.

Empress/Abscess is out now.