Inferi is an American technical/melodic death metal band. While strictly a local name with some online presence at first, mainman Malcolm Pugh's social media presence helped them become an unlikely success story in the 2010s and not only resurrected their career, but actually made them an internationally-renowned name, in addition to taking The Artisan Era from a vehicle for the band's albums to a hot commodity in its own right.
Formed in Nashville, Tennessee in 2006 by Josh Harrell (vocals), Malcolm Pugh, Chris Brocius (guitars), and Eric W. Brown (drums), the band was initially not a serious affair and mostly just played local and regional shows, though they managed to crank out Divinity in War, their debut full-length, in 2007. They managed to snag Nevin O'Hearn the year after in 2008, rounding out the lineup, and by the very beginning of 2009, The End of an Era, their sophomore full-length, had been released. Unfortunately, what little momentum they had came to a screeching halt that same year, as Sumerian Records had offered them a deal around roughly the same time that their local friends in Enfold Darkness were given an offer, only to have the label apply a far heavier hand, which the band balked at. Shortly after this occurred, the band broke up and the members went their separate ways; Pugh focused on Diskreet for a bit and later joined Enfold Darkness in 2010, while Brown joined Vale of Pnath. At some point between 2010 and 2011, Pugh decided to resurrect the band for a second go, and in addition to Josh Harrell and Nevin O'Hearn, he brought over Mike Low and Jack Blackburn, both fresh out of Enfold Darkness. The band remained a studio project for a while and was mostly just the full-band sibling of A Loathing Requiem (Pugh's solo project), though they managed to put out a demo in 2011. All was quiet for a while, especially with Blackburn being busy with Vital Remains at the time, though bigger things were in the works under the surface. Come early 2014, the band released The Path of Apotheosis, their third full-length, and word-of-mouth quickly put the album on a much wider radar. Over the next few years, the band gradually built up more and more of a name, between Malcolm Pugh's prolific social media activity, The Artisan Era (the label he had created as a vehicle for A Loathing Requiem), and the band's own hype, though it was still uncertain just where they were headed, especially after the departures of everyone save for Low and Pugh in 2014 and Pugh's brief stint with Entheos in 2015 and 2016. Nonetheless, the band quietly soldiered on, and Pugh managed to get Joel Schwallier in 2016, in addition to Blackburn returning. The following year, they not only managed to get Sam Schneider on vocals, but also managed to put out a pre-production demo of a new song early in the year. Bigger things happened in the summer of 2017, however, as they played their first live show in eight years.
2018, however, was their biggest year, as they kicked it off with a national tour supporting Alterbeast early in the year and then released Revenant, their fourth full-length, in April, followed by a second tour with Alterbeast that included a leg supporting Rivers of Nihil. As of mid-2018, they have several other tours lined up, as well as plans to re-record The End of an Era for a 2019 release.
- Divinity in War (2007)
- The End of an Era (2009)
- Demo (2011)
- The Path of Apotheosis (2014)
- Within the Dead Horizon (2017) (single)
- Revenant (2018)
- The End of an Era|Rebirth (2019) (rerecording of The End of an Era)
The band contains examples of the following tropes:
- Absentee Actor: Joel Schwallier did not tour with the band during his run.
- Ancient Astronauts: The "angels" and "demons" in The Path of Apotheosis are really just warring alien races whose conflict spilled over onto Earth, and both sides attempted to drag in early humans and consequently inspired the creation of the Abrahamic religions by accident.
- Ascended Extra: Spencer Moore started out as a live drummer while Malcolm figured out the drummer situation before he was made full-time, while Stevie Boiser and Andrew Kim were touring members before being inducted full-time after Sam Schneider and Joel Schwallier left.
- Badass Beard: Malcolm Pugh and Spencer Moore.
- Bald, Black Leader Guy: Malcolm Pugh.
- Big Fun: Malcolm Pugh.
- Black and Nerdy: Stevie Boiser, whose love for video games (especially Pokémon) and anime is fairly well-known. Case in point: Equipoise (one of his other bands) uses Fullmetal Alchemist as its sole lyrical focus, and he even made an AMV for "Dualis Flamel" off of Demiurgus.
- Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Andrew Kim is a hot sauce aficionado, and he rather gleefully accepted the Spicy Riff Challenge (where a musician has to eat a spoonful of a ghost pepper-based sauce, then record themselves playing their own material).
- Concept Album: All three of their full-lengths starting with The End of an Era have been this; Era and Revenant are part of the same story, while The Path of Apotheosis is an entirely separate story.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Divinity in War is a fairly straightforward melodic death/black metal album with some flashy leadwork that is almost completely unrecognizable compared to their later material.
- Epic Rocking: It's frankly easier to name their songs that aren't this, and Malcolm has joked that most of their songs are actually multiple songs in one. "Malevolent Sanction" is their longest at 8:53.
- I Am the Band: Malcolm, originally. Currently averted, as Mike Low and Andrew Kim contribute a fair amount, and Joel Schwallier also contributed to quite a few songs during his time in the band. Played straight with A Loathing Requiem, Malcolm's Solo Side Project.
- Large and in Charge: Malcolm Pugh and Mike Low.
- Lead Bassist: Andrew Kim is a Type A, and Joel Schwallier before him also qualified.
- Melodic Death Metal: Their other main genre.
- Metal Scream: Josh Harrell was a firm Type 3 who could also pull off Type 2s, and the same is true for Sam Schneider (who was particularly famous for his ear-piercing Type 3 highs) and Stevie Boiser (whose calling card is his throaty, hoarse Type 2 lows).
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally a standard 10.
- Our Angels Are Different/Our Demons Are Different: The warring races in The Path of Apotheosis are both Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, with the angels being a humanlike winged race and the demons being The Reptilians.
- Out of Focus: A Loathing Requiem, Malcolm's Solo Side Project. After he lost the entire The Path of Apotheosis lineup, he put Inferi on the back burner for a bit and began to focus on A Loathing Requiem once again, and was somewhat prepared to make it his main gig, but after Inferi's second wind kicked in, A Loathing Requiem was benched indefinitely. While Malcolm has indicated that another ALR album is imminent, Inferi's stacked schedule means that it is still likely a way's away.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: Andrew Kim.
- The Remake: The End of an Era|Rebirth has the same songs, and the actual songwriting and lyrics are the same, but Malcolm and Mike added in new orchestration and harmonies and slightly tweaked some riffs and leads, Stevie's vocal tracks are done in line with his own vision rather than as a note-for-note rerecording, and the drum and bass tracks are entirely original and were rewritten from the ground up. They have made it very clear that it is a "re-imagining" (their exact words) rather than a simple remaster or re-recording.
- Revolving Door Band: Historically a problem; along with the amount of people whose touring availability was extremely limited or nonexistent, this was the main thing that kept them from being able to do much of anything for most of their career. It wasn't until 2018 that Malcolm finally had a steady, reliable lineup that was able to tour and could handle the amount of touring that they had lined up.
- Special Guest: Mike Low (as well as Matt Brown, his then-bandmate in Enfold Darkness) had a guest guitar appearance on The End of an Era prior to joining, while Ralph Santolla, Stevie Boiser, Eric W. Brown, Emily Low (Oubliette), Mark Hawkins (Devolved), James Malone, and Trevor Strnad have been album guests, and Jack Blackburn was essentially a session member on Revenant. On a live basis, Boiser was an on-off vocal fill-in before he replaced Sam Schneider, while Andrew Kim (Seren) was their live bassist before he formally replaced Joel Schwallier; lastly, Sanjay Kumar (Wormhole, Equipoise) is strictly a live fill-in for their first European run.
- Spiritual Successor: The Artisan Era has become this for the early/mid-2010s era of Unique Leader Records, as they have signed several former Unique Leader acts (Arkaik and Inanimate Existence), in addition to signing the kind of acts that Unique Leader probably would have picked up between 2012 and 2016, namely Aethereus, Flub, and Symbolik.
- Start My Own: A Loathing Requiem is Malcolm's main solo project, while GraveSlayer is a synthwave project that he started for fun in 2017.
- Symphonic Metal: Has had shades of this since The Path of Apotheosis.
- Technical Death Metal: Firmly on the melodic side of the spectrum.
- Vanity Publishing: The Artisan Era started out as a vehicle for A Loathing Requiem and was later used to put out The Path of Apotheosis, but the latter album's success allowed it to grow into a legitimate label.