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Damned Fine Start! - 80%

doomknocker, June 23rd, 2015

Unhallowed is an Austrian extreme metal act who fancy themselves the “messengers of black disease” and patrons of various black and death metal acts aplenty. Taking on a more Nordic flair to their monstrous wares, it took some time between the initial inception/creation and a single demo recording before their debut album, “Enter Damnation”, was able to be unearthed from the fiery deep…

While coming from some obviously grim and icy roots, the material presented on “Enter…” is remarkably melodic, clearly song-oriented and, dare I say, catchy where it counts. Combining a strong sense of harmony, memorable song craft and a pristine clean production where everything (even the bass!) has plenty of depth and clarity, Unhallowed have cultivated a nice collection of dramatic, semi-dark and melodic extreme metal that seems to rely more on hooks than disastrous bite, but there’s nothing wrong with that given how it all came out. The more traditionally noisy and blurring wall-of-noise appeals were forsaken in favor of a mid-paced battle charge and borderline melodeath compositional craft that certainly shoots for the proper goods to make a solid debut release. While the sense of brutality inherent in the style at hand is maybe at a third of the way full, one shouldn’t discount that due to the strength of the songs themselves.

I’d once opined that it’s easier to get your point across no matter how pious or sacrilegious if one can actually decipher the words and works accordingly, which fits the scheme of things with this. Guitars are plenty strong with a slicing tone and sense of chugging, thrash-like rhythmic work, keyboards are more on the mild side yet add so much to the atmosphere and the dual vocal layering of high and low are convincingly demonic in nature, all of which combine into a sound and approach that wasn’t able to lose me. I really didn’t feel that, throughout the duration of “Damnation”, my attention wavered away for more than the amount of time it took to change things up (a new riff, a new progression, etc.), which in itself is a great feat in itself. I must admit that my expectations weren’t all that high given how many extreme metal acts start out, but all things considered these guys overcame those limiting beliefs’o mine in more than a single way. Well done, well done!

At the end of the day “Enter Damnation” was quite the wild ride that was rather exciting and, well…FUN excursion into hellish Euro-metal madness. Rest assured hat I will be keeping my eyes on these Austrian gents to see where they’ll end up next. Keep it up, I say!