Susumu Hirasawa, InhVman – Tetragrammaton

4 out of 5

Label: Chaos Union / Teslakite

Produced by: Susumu Hirasawa (mixed by)

A collaboration with an Italian death metal vocalist, Riccardo Brett, a.k.a. (on this release) InhVman.

“Collaboration” is the key word, here, as the two very much work together: this is definitely Susumu’s music, but he makes sure to not step on Brett’s performance, while the three tracks offer different tones to show how the focus can shift back and forth. Tonally, this is similar to Hirasawa’s Berserk and Paranoia Agent score work – opener Pan Daemon Eon sounding like the former, with its squiggly, faint noises; and the title track like the latter, with its doomy synth line. Eon showcases the vocalist by layering and reverbing his death metal growl-speak, Susumu pumping up his beats inbetween the verses; Tetra lets the intense synth line leads thing, adding in a harpsichord to fully vibe with the goth sensibilities. Final track No Mourn… is the most subtle and withdrawn of the three songs, with both artists hanging back for a fairly minimalist 5 minutes. It sounds like there was a fourth track that was eschewed from the recording, and that’s too bad, as this third track would work great as an interstitial between more propulsive ones, but is a little underwhelming as a closer.

The production is very warm, definitely more toward Susumu’s style than the flatness one often hears in death metal; Brett has an interesting delivery, annunciating his words and thoughts clearly and almost calmly – and there’s some interesting doom and gloom to decipher, lyrically – while maintaining the harsh style of the genre.

Not a combination one could’ve easily dreamed up, but it proves to be a very natural fit, and would’ve been interesting to see expressed across a full album.