Sophomore albums, particularly after stellar debuts, are often the bane of an artist’s discography due in part to the difficulty in meeting newfound high-expectations. In the case of Spanish hard rock/alternative metal band InMune, no such worries are necessary here. The band’s second full-length, Universal, is for the most part the equal of its predecessor Ilumíname. It is another marvelous display of crunchy guitar riffs, pounding drums, and melodic vocals all contained within standard song structures in a powerful, yet straightforward release.
Guitars take center stage throughout Universal, which was very much the agenda in the studio as guitarists Paulo Morete and Micky Vega sought to incorporate a more metal sound. As a result, Universal is drenched in darker tone and somber atmosphere, readily made apparent in Bendita Demencia. Its chief thick, crunchy riff serves as the guideline for the song, while the bass rhythm creates a demented or disturbed aura, only to be further accentuated by Morti’s stellar voice. Bendita Demencia is an example of the tone that defines Universal.
Metal guitar riffs are spread out and serve as the backbones of numerous tracks throughout Universal. The title track, which was the first song written for the album and released early in the year, features a thick, head-nodding rhythm and a solo that accommodates its medium pace, whereas La Salida lets out a heavier riff that serves at the foundation of that song, but slows down for its melodic choruses. Ya No Me Importa, with its foreboding tone and head-nodding rhythm, rips out a fine Middle-Eastern-vibed solo that further resonates with the interplay of instrumentation that surrounds it. Although vocalist Morti is well-known within the Spanish underground due to his work in cult grunge act El Fantástico Hombre Bala and short-lived alternative metal band Skizoo, the rest of the band is relatively unknown, these tracks demonstrate the evolution of InMune’s sound as they continue to craft and hone their identity.
Although the emphasis in Universal is on guitars, other tracks seek to tone down the distortion or lighten the mood. Sirenas, a standout track, is a slower, more melodic piece with an uplifting tone, soaring keyboards, and ascending vocals that create a very powerful and positive aura. Más Allá and Seres Únicos, in contrast, are more upbeat and up-tempo with a optimistic aura that counteracts the overall darker tone of the album, at least in terms of instrumentation. Mira is composed primarily of acoustic guitar, drums, and vocals—a gentle song, but stumbles as a weak closer to the album.
Universal is a fine addition to InMune’s short discography and solid sophomore effort, although it reveals areas in need of refinement. Universal does not feel as varied in tone and lacks stark contrasts that could have better differentiated the individual songs. Most of the songs are generally at the same slow to medium pace with short bursts of energy, such that the addition of a few thoroughly faster songs would have done well to break the lethargic pace of the album. However, what Universal proves itself capable of offering is a heavier guitar sound that helps give the Spanish alternative metal scene some muscle. Ilumíname had its metal moments within a pop rock construct, whereas Universal is able to expand upon these metal elements while maintaining a melodic core. One lacked what the other excelled in; therefore InMune needs to better combine both, while continuing to expand their overall sound in the future—of course, much easier said than done. Universal is a worthy addition to their discography and a must-listen album in Spanish-language alternative metal—it does not disappoint and only points to a brighter future for InMune.
Genre: Alternative Metal, Hard Rock
Label: Fair Warning
Release: September 30, 2016
1. Circo Del Terror
2. Bendita Demencia
5. Llegaré Hasta Ti
6. Ya No Me Importa
7. Más Allá
8. Seres Únicos
9. La Salida
10. Si Te Quedas Conmigo