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Insurrection - Umnikelo

Insurrection was one of the first death metal bands from South Africa, having formed in 1991. They lasted only five years, but they were quite productive during that time. Their most well-known work is Umnikelo, an EP that was released shortly before they disbanded. It was re-released by Cryptic Blood Records twenty years later, and six years after that, Carnivorous Records and 5or3 Records released it digitally, this time with bonus tracks.

I don't know if this had been remastered or not, but the production sounds great. Everything can be heard clearly and has tremendous impact, especially the drums. I'll touch on those later. Sepultura had a profound influence on the South African extreme metal scene. This is most apparent in the guitar work, which is jointly handled by Dean Coull and Bryan Viljoen. Many of their riffs possess an energetic thrashing quality while still sounding dark and menacing. The Floridian death metal influence is also present in their mid-paced palm-muted riffs. They even play some tremolo riffs that have a touch of melody. Aside from guitars, Bryan also handles vocal duties. He performs a hoarse growl that are similar in style to most other bands around that time, but they still sound intense.

The real star of the show is drummer Jimi Anderson. He plays galloping rhythms, mid-paced patterns, and blast beats. Not only are they played extremely well, but he also includes various flourishes that make them more interesting, be it rapid thumping double bass or extravagant fills. He doesn't stop there, though. Just like his compatriots Umtakati, he includes tribal influences in his work. This makes the music feel more primal, as if it's being animated by the spirits of warriors long dead. Metal has produced many great and talented drummers, but one needs to do something truly special in order to stand out, and that is what Anderson has accomplished here.

Umnikelo was one of the best releases to come out of the South African metal scene. Their music was creative and energetic, and Jimi Anderson proved himself to be one of the greatest metal drummers to have ever lived. Eat your heart out, Flo Mounier.