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Unkured, hailing from Ohio, USA, play an aggressive mixture of extreme metal genres and thrash. While this mixture of different sounds may not be anything new to fans of popular bands like Skeletonwitch or Vektor, the particular focus on oldschool death metal brutality mixed with technical thrash on Unkured’s debut EP, As Reality Melts…, sets the band apart from the rest of the bands in the current death/thrash scene similar to the way Vektor’s Black Future made a name for them back in 2009 in the realms of black/thrash. Needless to say, that’s a pretty big compliment by comparison.
At only five tracks, this EP goes by pretty quickly, but the songs are all quite well constructed and differentiated so it’s not hard to listen to it twice in a row and enjoy just as much the second time through. There are tons of riffs here and interesting shifts in timing and tone across tracks. The technical thrash influence is undeniable in the band’s sound, but it’s beautifully offset by dirty old-school death metal sections that just make you want to get in a pit and draw blood (never a bad reaction to great death metal).
Production is heavy and thick across all five tracks. Some of the more technical guitar riffs can sound a bit muddy at times, but never so much that you can’t tell what’s being played. The dirty sound lends incredibly well to the more extreme elements of the band’s music and the mid-ranged harsh thrash vocals blend beautifully among the mix. It’s not a perfect (read: ungodly expensive) studio mix for sure, but it still sounds fantastic for an independent release and fits Unkured’s sound like a glove.
Instrumentally, this is some pretty impressive stuff. The drumming is especially noteworthy as it jumps across styles frequently and with plenty of crazy fills to accommodate the frequent changes. The bass guitar is audible in the mix and doesn’t just follow along with the root notes at all times, but often will be doing its own thing. That is always a positive choice for me. Interesting bass lines are guaranteed to keep me coming back for more. On top of this talented rhythm section are some seriously crazy guitars. Riffs abound on this release despite its short length, not to mention there are tons of frenetic solos and leads thrown across each track. There’s nothing boring about what these guys are doing. If anything, you may get a bit overwhelmed if you’re used to all of the by-the-numbers retro thrash bands around these days. Unkured scoff at all of those bands and pummel them into the ground with death metal and talent.
As Reality Melts… scores a well earned 8 out of 10 from me. A strong EP from a band that people should watch. If you’re an extreme metal fanatic like me, or just a big fan of other bands I mentioned at the beginning of this review, you really can’t go wrong picking up this release. As Reality Melts… will melt your face off. You can check out some of Unkured’s music for free at their Facebook page or on Reverbnation.