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Finally reaching their potential - 80%

Noktorn, April 13th, 2009

What a snappy title! It took roughly a millennia, but Unburied finally released their debut full-length on the heels of a split with Seeking Obscure, much to the delight of their rabid fanbase of six people. Despite their relatively unknown status in the underground scene (despite the longevity of the band itself), the long-awaited album is actually a solid piece of New York style death metal in the vein of Skinless and their contemporaries, and should please just about anyone into uptempo, grooving and grinding death metal. Unless you're a slut, in which case I suppose you should be wary.

In a pleasant shift from the material on the previous split, Unburied's production is much improved on this album, with a less synthetic guitar tone and a tighter and more percussive feel overall. It fits the fast and agile music like a glove; this is a band that needs a variety of production as tight and focused as they are, and it goes a long way to making the songs play at their best. The production on the split I found too broad, making the instrumental performances sound sloppy through excessive distortion and a lack of precision in the mixing; this album is a needed and welcome step up in that regard.

The music itself is firmly entrenched in the NYDM style while still retaining a unique style. Unburied's variety of death metal is similar to Skinless, but perhaps a bit more extreme, employing techniques such as gravity blasts and other tropes of the extreme death/grind scene on a fairly regular basis, and possessing a uniquely sardonic and bloodthirsty tone which I haven't really heard elsewhere. The songs are short and make a real impact on the listener; occasional reprieves come in the form of samples, but mostly this music is a nonstop barrage of blasting and grinding. The music is immediate and doesn't wear out its welcome; the entire album is over in under a half hour, and it's all the better for it.

On the more negative side, Unburied does occasionally evidence some rather strange and unadvised songwriting decisions from time to time; the title track sits around on one groove section for much longer than it should, and elsewhere there are instances of the music getting a bit overly circular and static. Generally this is avoided by the high-speed nature of the songs and a good amount of variation in riffing and rhythms, but on occasion this gets a little still for my liking; it wouldn't be a problem, really, if the majority of the music wasn't so blistering, but you can't give the people steak and expect them to be content with a hamburger afterward.

Overall, this is a very strong debut album from Unburied and probably the best release yet from Metalbolic Records (next up being Archaic Winter's full-length). 'Slut Decapitator' is a solid, if obscure little number that should please a lot of fans of a more uptempo and cynical breed of oldschool hardcore-infused death/grind, and the fact that you can listen to it in the space of one commercial break is pretty convenient also. If you like extreme death/grind, certainly give this record a try.