In a world that thrives on the idea of progression, the current state of death metal seems to find more value in going backwards in time, towards regression. Over the last decade, old-school principles and aesthetic components have been dominating the modern world of death metal, that is, if you can say they ever even fully went away.
There is no doubt that bands like Tomb Mold, Gatecreeper, Superstition, Blood Incantation, Skeletal Remains, etc. all represent a wave of DM that reminisce on the creative components and audible obliteration that developed throughout the early ’90s. However, more recently, there has been something vile rotting in Rochester, New York, whose foul odor has been rapidly spreading throughout the underground.
It doesn’t take an expert to recognize that Rochester’s Undeath pride themselves on concocting dirty-rotten, death metal arrangements. The trio, now turned five-piece, use their instruments to express the more indecent, pummeling throwback elements of death metal from both the states and across the pond.
Since their formation in late 2018, Undeath have released a demo (Demo ‘19), an EP (Sentient Autolysis), and recently announced their upcoming album Lesions Of A Different Kind, set to release on October 23 via the unfaltering Prosthetic Records. With Lesions Of A Different Kind, Undeath provide ten skull-crushing tracks that demonstrate ferocity and bludgeon forth with merciless riffage, persistent groove, and a Cannibal Corpse-worshipping mentality.
Immediately piercing its hook through your flesh, “Suitably Hacked to Gore” slashes onward in a sonic frenzy. A manic tempo gives way to contusion inducing grooves in this murderous work of art. Through a flurry of guitar-shredding solo work and primitive growling, the hook that initiates the track comes back throughout the song to hack its way into your head.
The lurking nature of the band’s sound comes to life through “Shackles of Sanity” and “Lord of the Grave,” which represent some of the slower and heavier tracks on the album. Heinous riffing feeds into the sickening story of the lord of the grave, told through the lyrics: “sacrificed humanity/long riddled with disease/atop a bone-made throne/I am lord of the grave.” Undoubtedly a twisted plot with a chorus that captures the festering attributes of this band’s songwriting.
Upping the ante, the smashing title track was able to obtain the seal approval from the master of splatter, the superintendent of slaughter, the director of disgust, the governor of gore himself, Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder. This high-powered attraction employs a hastened tempo and a spine-splitting groove, all enhanced by Strnad’s screeching feature.
Every song on this album is presented in a way that is exciting, unpredictable, and utilizes a variety of influence from across the death metal and horror spectrum. Both “Entranced by the Pendulum” and “Archfiend Coercion Methods,” are prime examples of how Undeath cleverly uses tempo changes, transitions, double bass patterns, and riff variations, to capitalize on that unpredictability.
Lesions Of A Different Kind is a well-balanced machine in terms of tempo, keeping things relatively mid-paced and using blast beats sparingly. The monstrous “Phantasmal Festering” from the band’s EP prior, fits right in with the track list and sounds massive with the production upgrade. It’s thrilling to see how the band have upgraded their songwriting capabilities in such a short time, expanding their repulsive ideas presented on Sentient Autolysis.
With their latest, it is clear that Undeath took the time to develop dynamic angles around their old-school-inspired sound. While the band may hang on to the ruthless traditions established by bands like Cannibal Corpse, they maintain a balance within their own ideas of brutality. Lesions Of A Different Kind thrives on barbaric inspiration and flourishes in filth, bringing imaginative, slash n’ gore storytelling back to the forefront of death metal.