“Cauchemar” is the second album from Canadian band Inire. This record shows a blend of styles that would most accurately fall in the category of groove metal (despite the opening melodies of “Avidya”, which are very different from the rest of the album). Though Inire doesn’t quite sound like Pantera, the Texas legends are undoubtedly a major influence on this record, as this is definitely "tough guy" metal. Not being a major fan of this style, I even struggle with calling it groove metal at times, as it almost feels closer to metalcore. This is driven partially by the vocals, which move back and forth between clean singing and harsher growls (these growls don’t reach the guttural sounds of more extreme bands though). In general, Inire would be better off to pick one of these styles and stick with it, but I honestly couldn’t even suggest one of them, as neither is particularly appealing. There are actually some decent vocal moments, and the record tends to get a bit better as it goes on, but the first impression of “Wide Awake” doesn’t help the band’s cause.
After a couple of duds, “Cauchemar” does start to kick into gear. Both “Endless” and “Crash” have stellar guitar playing, and that is the main element that saves “Cauchemar” as a whole. No matter what style of metal you play, it’s hard to resist a killer guitar solo. Listening to bands like Inire always sort of frustrate me: the talent is there, and if they just did a few things differently record, the end result would be much better. There are thrashy, speed moments on this disc, but they’re few and far between. Likewise, there is occasionally some decent, virtuosic playing, but it is fairly hidden throughout the album. As sad as it is to say, the best way for Inire to improve is to simply play a different style of metal. That’s not to say this album will fall flat on its face for most listeners, but if you like any of the more classic styles of metal (traditional, thrash, power, death, black, etc.), you won’t find much to enjoy on this record.
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2.5/5 or 50%.
Written by Scott