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This is good black metal - 74%

Cheeses_Priced, October 7th, 2004

I rely heavily on word-of-mouth for investigating the current underground black metal scene. Honestly, I think the vast, vast majority of what’s out there is pretty boring, and anything remotely interesting seems to generate a lot of hype very quickly, so I hold out for the most acclaimed releases rather than strike out on my own and investigate. And I’m usually disappointed.

But in this case, word-of-mouth has certainly failed me. I have heard virtually no buzz at all about this band (maybe I’ve been listening to the wrong people) and yet this EP is far and away superior to the average black metal release, especially these days.

What stands out about it immediately is the musicianship: all the musicians are quite skilled and certainly well-above what one ordinarily expects of black metal. In particular I must draw attention to the drummer, who never seems content with straight ahead blasting yet scarcely slows down for a moment during the entire running time. I doubt I could adequately describe his drumming style, but suffice it to say that it will definitely draw your attention.

The music itself is fast and mercilessly violent, only letting up for brief moments of bizarre bass work that seemingly exist, at least partially, to emphasize how aggressive it is the rest of the time. No hypnotic ambience or pagan atmosphere… no, Unquintessence aims to destroy you. There’s also a complexity in song structure that I greatly appreciate – simple guitars over plain grind drumming just doesn’t convey the same sense of savagery that this does, no matter how loud the recording is. Not an iota of feeling has been sacrificed for showmanship: the guitar music is incredibly dark, playing with both dissonance and melody in the space of a moment. They always seem just a hair off-kilter, never quite committing to the most obvious path through a melody or a riff.

Of final note are the vocals… they just sound incredibly loud and like they hurt to perform. They sound genuine, in other words.

There is not really anything negative to say. Definitely worth a listen.