Unflesh – Savior

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: N/A
Released: 2018
Buy Album: https://www.unfleshband.com/shop
Band Website: https://www.unfleshband.com/

BAND LINE-UP:

Ryan Beevers – Vocals & Guitar
Chris Dovas – Drums
Peter De Reyna – Bass
Chris Gardino – Guitar

TRACKLISTING:

1. Savior
2. Bestowal Of Decay
3. Final Writhe
4. Erosive Devotees
5. The Eradication Commenced
6. Caliginous
7. Desecration Of Light
8. Disintegration God

REVIEW

Where technical death metal often falls flat on its face is in the over-reliance on the technical aspects of the sound. Such records can leave the listener feeling very cold and fatigued – so many notes at such speed… It’s very easy to lose interest when there is nothing much to latch onto besides ripping technicality. Impressive, yes, but not at the expense of good songwriting. It’s the push-and-pull of music that holds the interest of most listeners, so considering such will go a long way when constructing an album.

Fortunately for UNFLESH, they appear to be smart cookies and do utilise technical variance and shifting moods throughout their debut, “Savior”. From the moody beginnings of the title track, through to the lacerating finale of “Disintegration God”, the band skilfully balances technical intensity with considered songwriting. Assisted by a tremendous production job, every song hits hard where it needs to, cedes back for breath and sears with every finger-flaying lead. When recalling that it’s the band’s debut album, it paints the picture all the brighter and more vibrant – the band can only go from strength to strength from here.

Another aspect often overlooked by technical bands is the use of melody. Such a thing within the subgenre, and even the wider realm of metal, can be treated with a certain disdain and it’s baffling why. “The music is supposed to be brutal, heavy and nasty!” Yes, we all love a bit of dissonance and brutality, but that rather loses sight of itself when there’s no contrasting element to throw it into some context. So embrace the melody and appreciate its contrasting nature by listening to “Final Writhe” – an exercise in heaviness with a gloriously melodious finale, led by some sublime bass arpeggios. A true treat for the ears from UNFLESH here.

Similarly, the likes of “Caliginous” and “The Eradication Commenced”, with their melodic arpeggiated riffs and groove respectively, are beguiling. They’re also prime examples of the variance in tempo the band makes use of and, again, does a stellar job. Much like melody/dissonance, careful use of speed should be aspired to. Try running at full sprint for forty minutes and, aside from some an elevated heart rate and shortness of breath (depending on your fitness), you’ll gain an appreciation for managing the pace. There’s technicality in managing the tempo of technical death – another songwriting attribute UNFLESH can tick off.

As strong debuts go, “Savior” is right up there with some of the best. It encompasses all that makes tech death an enjoyable subgenre without falling into the usual pitfalls of mindless speed and technicality for the sake of it – a testament to UNFLESH’s abilities as songwriters and musicians. It’d be lovely to see a little more of the near-symphonic elements found on closer “Disintegration God” in future as that took on a new lease of life, but for now the goods are good. Do keep an eye out for these chaps on the next one as they can only get better from here.

REVIEW BY:

LEE CARTER

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