- Pact Infernal is one of the stranger things to emerge from Horo, Samurai's sister label. Inspired by Dante's Inferno, the anonymous duo behind the name take the Horo sound—a blend of techno, drum & bass and experimental music—and infuse it with the occult. They end up somewhere between Lustmord and the latter-day work of Ulver. Their first EP set the scene, and it was a solid debut, with speaker-rattling drones, pounding drums and ominous screeches. Pact Infernal followed it with a stellar remix EP from Lucy that hinted at some crossover ambition, and now they return with original material that further ups the ante.
On The Descent (Chapter 2), Pact Infernal beef up their arsenal with blaring horns, layered field recordings and chanted vocals. The first track, "Circle VII [Anger]," gives you a good idea of what you're in for: scrapes and creaks make way for bellowing horns, as the drums rattle like chains. Drums are the most bewitching element of Chapter 2. On "Heresy," they pound rapidly and unsteadily. On "Fraud," all kinds of percussion are strung together into what sounds like some kind of twisted ritual—part tribal, part techno, part jungle.
"Fraud" is the EP's most jarring track, and probably Pact Infernal's best. Packed with creepy sounds and blood-curdling screams, it's not for the faint of heart, and could also register as cheesy depending on your appetite for this stuff. In their quest to sound evil, Pact Infernal nearly take it too far. At their most predictable, they evoke the soundtrack of a B movie. But at their best, they make towering walls of sound with ingenuity and imagination.
A1 Circle V (Anger)
A2 Circle VI (Heresy)
B1 Circle VII (Violence)
B2 Circle VIII (Fraud)
B3 Circle IX (Treachery)