A veil of mystery shrouds Undead as they release their debut album 'False Prophesies' on 20th April this year via Listenable Records. The band has five faceless members with very little information available about them. Their website just has a creepy video describing them being “amongst the dead” yet “among the living” to finally reveal an anonymous hooded band member called Necros on Guitars. Contrary to the self-image they have created, their sound is no mystery whatsoever. Rekindling the lost Death Metal flame is their holy grail, and they make us travel back in time to the formative years of the genre to deliver the same raw old-school Death Metal sound that we fell in love with.
'False Prophesies' is a tribute to bands like Death and Autopsy. It's hard not to be consumed by nostalgia as soon as the pounding double bass and the massively distorted palm muted chugs of “Unborn” devastate your ear drums. It instantly reminded me of Death's track “Forgotten Past” from their phenomenal album 'Leprosy'. The track alternates between supremely aggressive riffage on one end and melodic guitar lines meandering solid groove-laden rhythms on the other. All of this is backed by impressive dynamics behind the drum kit. It’s hard not to bang your head when the aggressive parts kick in or restrict yourself from air drumming (or air-guitar playing) during the slow portions.
The title track “False Prophesies” starts in a similar fashion as its predecessor, marching forth on the trademark Death Metal riffage and mutating into a slightly slower and groovier avatar towards the end. It introduces a lot of variations in the mix, and I found myself lapping up every bit of it.
The band incorporates heady doses of groove amidst the aggression. Tracks like “Praise the Absurd” follow a slightly slower tempo but provide a burly structure to the album. Similarly after the initial sonic assault in “Castrate Humanity”, the band twists the song towards an entirely different direction, integrating melodic guitar lines onto a quivering slab of groove on the rhythms. The intricate drum work and the soulful solos on this track lift it to newer levels of awesomeness. Another example is “Descending Souls”. The track rips your face apart with its razor-sharp riffage initially and pauses slightly midway, before transforming into a heavy-sounding beast. It mutates back again to its speed demon incarnation as it reaches the end. This kind of alternating structure is repeated in most of the tracks, however, there is enough going on in the mix to grab your attention and not sound repetitive. The band blends in the best of both worlds, delivering an album which rides on speed but has a groovy spine. Although it is not overly technical, the album has its fair share of technicality and progressiveness for you to appreciate the band's musicianship.
The vocalist sounds massive throughout the album with his deathly growls and snarling screams. It goes really well with the raw production of the album, and completes the old school Death Metal sound of the album. The album clocks a precise 40 minutes with eight tracks in total. The tracks are not short, and take up a little over 5 minutes on average.
To summarize, Undead deliver an album that's high on nostalgia and rich in texture. Although you would be more than familiar with the sound the band has to offer, it will keep you engrossed throughout.
Recommended Tracks: “Descending Souls”, “Unbound to Eternity”, “Castrate Humanity”