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Infernal Love was the third studio album to be released by Northern Irish rockers Therapy? In 1995 and, following reading a recent review, I found myself prompted to dig it out of my CD collection to see if it was as good an album as I remembered. Infernal Love is an album that has a certain air of nostalgia for me since it heralded my progression from indie kid to rock chick. As I waved goodbye to my days spent listening to the Stone Roses, Therapy? were one of the bands that introduced me to the hard rock way of life. That said, my recollections of Infernal Love were mostly based on the song Diane, which my memory told me was a sorrowful tale of rape played out to a sweeping orchestral backing. It was time for me to see how much my memory had failed me over the last 13 years, but despite the urge to skip forward to track ten, I decided to listen to all 11 tracks from start to finish.
Now I like to think of myself as a considerate rocker and I only tend to play heavier music at full blast during the daytime (I'm not that considerate of shift workers I confess). Since it is currently past 9pm on a Sunday evening, I adjusted the volume on my CD player accordingly but even I was blown away when the first track, Epilepsy, came blasting through my speakers with clashing throbbing guitars and a drum beat that is sure to get your head banging. Cairns vocals are just as I remembered, a soulful and emotional rock style which oozes angst and frustration without straying from the melody. As I found myself singing along, and the cat sat looking dazed, I quickly recalled just how fantastic an album this was back when it was released and still is today.
The album thrashes through an eclectic and well performed range of metal tracks but unlike Therapy's previous album, Troublegum, Infernal Love shows the band from a different perspective as they ditch their punk rock roots and take on an almost gothic rock element. Me Vs You is perhaps a perfect case in point and certainly wouldn't have sounded amiss on the soundtrack to The Crow with an almost industrial gothic sound and a perfect haunting vocal. Many of the tracks on the album, including Jude The Obscure, Me Vs You and Diane, make use of a orchestral sound which gives the album a unique sound and an added depth. Contrary to my recollections, it isn't quite the sweeping orchestral backing that I seemed to remember but there is heavy use of cellos and violins which again adds to the gothic feel of the album without loosing any of Therapy's heavy rock metal roots.
Personally, I find it difficult to pick a stand out track on the album since there's probably 5 or so that I would struggle to choose between. Diane is an obvious favourite as the track that introduced me to the album but Stories, Misery and Jude the Obscure are all accomplished tracks. As a whole, the album is well put together and I'd struggle just as much to find fault. Loose is perhaps my least favourite song on the album but it was one of the singles released from the album and achieved moderate success in the British charts so what do I know?
Whether you're an established fan of Therapy? or simply looking to sample the delights of some Irish rock metal, then you can't go far wrong with Infernal Love. It's perhaps unfortunate that it never achieved quite the success it could and should have done but it reached number 9 in the UK charts which is certainly not an achievement to be sniffed at. For many rock fans, it's an album that has probably faded into obscurity but I can wholly recommend digging it in and dusting it down or picking up a copy so you too can enjoy 48 minutes of fast and furious rock and reminisce about the 90s.
3. A Moment of Clarity
4. Jude the Obscure
5. Bowels of Love
7. Bad Mother
8. Me Vs You
11. 30 Seconds
This, the 3rd full length album by Northern Irelands finest is one of the hidden gems of British rock music. Starteling in both its song writing and epic almost cinematic scope Therapy? have never been better.
While most were expecting a rehash of the the bands biggest commercial success to date (Troublegum) Therapy had other ideas for its follow up forgoing the straight ahead pop metal favoured on Troublegum for this gothic masterpeace completely laced with bitterness and and cairns unique growel and lyrical bent.
There are still elements of Therapy?'s earlier sounds here as evidenced on the bouncy but twisted 'Loose' and the fast guitar stabs and chanting chorus of first single 'Stories' but it really is the epics such as 'Moment of clarity' 'Diane' and 'Jude the obscene' that grab the attention here.
Industry types may have refered to this album as commercial suicide but amoungst us die hard fans of the band this album is and always will be cherished.
Therapy? are a metal band formed in 1989 in Northern Ireland by singer/guitarist Andy Cairns and drummer Fyfe Ewing. They soon employed bass guitarist Micheal McKeegan on bass and began to create their own hybrid of punk/metal. Nowadays Ewing is no longer with the band and is replaced by Graham Hopkins but at the time they released 'Infernal Love' the original trio were complete and rolling in the success of their previous album 'Troublegum'.
'Troublegum', a savage attack on anger and the church, was released in February of 1994 and contained tracks such as 'Nowhere' and 'Trigger Inside' which would both become chart hits in the UK. Due to the success of this album the record company A&M pressed hard for a follow-up release and 'Infernal Love' was the result.
1 - Epilepsy
2 - Stories
3 - A Moment of Clarity
4 - Jude the Obscene
5 - Bowels of Love
6 - Misery
7 - Bad Mother
8 - Me Vs You
9 - Loose
10 - Diane
11 - 30 Seconds
The major difference between this and its predessesor is that 'Infernal Love' seems a little bit subdued after such an angry record but, for all its shortcomings in power and passion, it is no less ugly for it. There might not be references to religion and masturbation (no connection!) but there are still plenty of nods towards the grim underbelly of society.
Tracks such as 'Me Vs You', a tale of one mans violence towards his ex-partner, is told in a way that you can actually picture the mans diseased mind. When he speaks in a rational sense the music is low with an undercurrent of a pulsing rythmn and then, when his repressed anger shines through, the music explodes to match his psychotic state.
"It used to give me guilty thrills
Feeling in control and feeding off your innocence
I watched you torture yourself days
And f*cking you got boring when it didn't feel so wrong"
'Diane', a cover version of a song performed by Husker Du, is a harrowing song regarding the rape and murder of a young girl set against a haunting backdrop of cello's. As you can see the band tend to stay clear of the everyday subjects of love and umbrellas and instead try to focus in on the dark realities of life.
'Bad Mother', a song of abandonment and an old womans decay in a nursing home, and others like 'Jude the Obscene' are all wonderful songs with a brooding menace that often erupts into.....well.....noise for the unenlightened and cacophonous majesty to the converted.
Therapy?, who seemed to have been undergoing a bit of an hiatus, have signed a major new worldwide contract with Demolition Records (who? you all ask - they manage bands such as Twisted Sister, Hanoi Rocks and Quiet Riot - any the wiser now?) and are set to release a new platter some time during September of this year.
I for one can't wait - I find there is just too little music regailing the British public regarding perverted sex, murder and self-abuse on the market and it is all the poorer for it.
Or maybe that's just me.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
3 Moment Of Clarity
4 Jude The Obscene
5 Bowels Of Love
7 Bad Mother
8 Me Vs You
11 Thirty Seconds