“Call of the Blue Distance” finds Instinct of Survival‘s sound continuing to evolve past the crusty monster they once were, and crossing over into an almost death rock sound, much in the vein of Cemetery or Alaric. The husky anger of the vocals comes across as more of a crusty punk bellow. These doom-slaying howls sit upon the guitars’ post-apocalyptic snarl, allowing the aggressive riffs to cut a path with their lacerating metallic tinge. Unlike a good chunk of the bands in the post-punk/death-rock revival of recent years, Instinct of Survival proves to be more influenced by Killing Joke than most of their peers. On “Walls,” the guitars capture some shadowy dissonance to their chug, making it clear these guys have a knack for spawning heavy riffage with a dark side.
Songs like “To Forget” bring to mind old VoiVod, if the Canadian band had written “Nothing Face” with the same youthful spite that laced “War and Pain.” Like lycanthropes, the band morphs with crackle of bone as they shift from overt metal to something closer to death rock, even in their most straightforward assaults like the song “Violence Silence.” The metallic punk is still dosed like the punch at your 8th grade dance with narcotic moodiness. At it’s heart, this album is still squatting with the gutter punks, but always seems to wear a frown beneath the rain clouds in the sonic graveyard they have dug.
Instinct of Survival comes to the best balance in the album’s tug of war between their crusty past and the more recent embrace of the dark side on “Drown in Sorrow.” This song conjures images of a drunken tribal ritual that erupts into a chant around a hellish bonfire to invoke the gods of sludge metal. At times, the sonic throb alternates with more rabid attack, almost reaching a manic thrashing. While the band has their metal moments, that tag doesn’t really apply either. Throughout the album, they shake off any label that you think might be the most comfortably assigned to them. The band’s strength is the sense of identity that acknowledges their influences, but refuses to allow that to set boundaries on where they want to take these songs. The album ends on a wonderfully dismal note with “Endzeit.” This dreary gem carries the downtrodden stomp of a cyborg that has gone off its meds.
Not sure why these guys are getting lumped in with positive punk, as they come across as being morbidly pissed. There is nothing hopeful in their lyrics, which by their coarsely shouted delivery seems to be a primal catharsis. It could be said that as art imitates the world around it, that with every year punk seems to be darkening, but Instinct of Survival wears a shade darker than even the current trends. If you want a band that stays scrappy even with a gloomy cloud hovering over them then give these guys a listen.