A Trust Unclean – Parturition

The evolution of extreme metal in the past twenty years has taken on many forms. One area which has not been afraid to include fresh influences is Death Metal. Take a look at where the genre stood in the early 90’s – bands such as Obituary and Deicide delivering what is considered now to be the genre’s most primordial, basic template. Later innovators such as Cynic – incorporated progressive elements – and Nile with their Egyptian styling’s proved that the genre had room for new ideas without sacrificing the raw power of what came before. As things stand in 2017, Death Metal seems to have merged with everything from hardcore to jazz and with their new offering Parturition, Oxford crew A Trust Unclean attempt to push things even further.

The title track invokes sinister theatrical themes, setting things up nicely and preparing the listener for the onslaught that comes after, sounding like a much-more technical Clandestine –era Entombed . Its glitched-out guitar lines all lead into the super catchy riffery of Dominion Over Bone, which showcase the hyper speed drumming of Noah Plant, breaking down into Messhugah-like tech-metal.

Kyle Lamb unleashes vocal hell with death grunts and blood-curdling screams, allowing tracks like the rhythmic To Encompass and Eclipse with its staggered, crushing beatdown sections – to sound positively unnerving. His voice also sit’s well alongside the records layered keyboards, which accompany both the high speed and the sludgier moments to give the record an ethereal feel in places, really elevating the caustic mood.

As previously mentioned, the band clearly seek to innovate and that they do. They incorporate many influences into the melting pot, notably the groove based chicanery of Lamb of God on riff juggernaut Aeon, a whole host of progressive metal luminaries on tracks like Apex and the full speed ahead brutality of Job For A Cowboy which shines through on the majority of tracks here. The only trouble with the record really is that the band move so quickly through tracks that it really is hard to pigeonhole a specific style in which they sit.

With Parturition, A Trust Unclean deliver a veritable battering ram to the senses, slinging hyper speed blast beats, intricate guitar lines and harrowing vocals at the wall and it most definitely sticks. Of course this wouldn’t work nearly as well if it weren’t for the magnitude of influences here, all underpinned by crisp production and an eerie backdrop that hasn’t been done quite as well since hardcore merchants Bleeding Through burst on the scene. A ferocious new release by a promising British act.

Oceano – Revelation [REVIEW]

With the announced move that Oceano would be now joining the Sumerian Records label, the collective deathcore world jumped out of their chairs in excitement due to what would become of the group. Now the band are releasing their fifth studio record titled ‘Revelation’, its time to see what has become of the deathcore veterans.

The album opens up with an immediate punch to the groin with ‘Dark Prophecy’ giving you that classic sound you’ve heard from the band, right down to the sudden slowing down of the track and the low groans of Adam Warren being a great way to show you that they aren’t slowing down any time soon. ‘Lucid Reality’ picks up the pace even more with a more groove-laden track and utilising a lot more of the atmospheric and eerie cleans to provide much more depth of field for the track when you’re listening to it. That doesn’t mean the band don’t shy away from aggressive chugs and the blast beats as are very evident in the track. The following track unfortunately have the same gravitas as the previous tracks and whilst there are moments of notable quality, ‘Path To Extinction’ feels very basic in its approach compared to what you’ve heard previous. It will no doubt bring something to the live shows but feels out of place on the record where it is positioned. Comparing that to ‘The Great Tribulation’ which seems to involve a lot more of an all around influence and push themselves a lot more in speed and technicality, the band put the previous track to shame with its ability to go balls to the wall.

The record progresses a bit further when you get to tracks such as ‘Illusions Unravel’ and ‘The Event’ which showcase even more of the bands talent within the field. The downside of this project is that they’ve hit a certain box within the album where certain elements carry over from track to track and can make the record feel a bit monotonous in its approach. Whilst the instrumentation and brutality in its structure help exemplify the greater qualities of the band, the band heighten a lot of their approach on the same moments that ‘Ascendents’ did, making it feel like a spiritual successor and not its own beast. ‘Final Form’ is a great example of their musical quality in the guitars which stray from convention to give you something a bit more melodic in its wake. The groovier elements make more of a mark in the track ‘Majestic 12’ as well as the album closer, as well as the title track ‘Revelation’ that give the record some sort of new life, but as the album draws to its close it leaves you with a mixture of emotions to take home with you.

The new move will do wonders for the bands career, but as a standalone album that the fans have been waiting for it wont feel like its own unique beast of a record. Whilst it is most definitely a step up from their previous record, the band are still stuck in a place they need to find a little bit more freedom in and expand upon.

[6.5/10]

He Is Legend – Few

Returning from their very own Cabin In The Woods experience, North Carolina’s He Is Legend are back with fifth album Few. Retreating to a remote location in Carborro, NC – the band locked themselves away, far from phones signals and as frontman Schuylar Croom explains “Rather than turning on the TV at night, we’d be sitting around a fire to stay warm drinking wine. It brought an element of darkness out of me”. It was truly do or die during the almost entirely crowdfunded record too ; the band declaring that if they reached their target, Few would become a reality and if not, the record would not see the light of day. Luckily fans responded in droves, easily exceeding the band’s desired amount. So with all of the energy and motivation of knowing just how much their audience wanted another record, could He Is Legend build on the acclaim that 2014’s Heavy Fruit saw them receive?

The answer is a resounding yes.

Early singles Air Raid and Sand were impressive in their scope and impact ; the former a winding, trippy intro launched head-first into pummeling low-slung riffery and the latter a punchy groove-metal assault complete with as catchy a chorus as you would hope to find. Two tracks in and the band have already demonstrated most of the key elements that fans have come to love about them and guess what… they aren’t about to stop there.

Throughout their musical tenure, He Is Legend have found ways to wrap up big-time melodies in burly guitar riffs and on Few they have damn near perfected this art. In parts, the record plays as part deux to their previous effort, albeit alot heavier in places. The sinewy rhythmic funk of Alley Cat and acid-trip fever dream of Gold Dust recall the dramatic yet hooky vibes of their predecessor. Part of what made this dramatic feel work on previous outings and certainly what aids the band’s overall sound this time around is Croom’s lyrical output ; maturing from the twisted story-book fare of Suck Out The Poison to the cryptic but no less spellbinding imagery of Air Raid here, which Croom explains “It’s about how the earth wants humans to be gone”.

For fans of their earlier outings, there is nothing quite as erratic as The Seduction here – in it’s place jagged southern-rock ala Beaufort and the lumbering Down-esque grind of Jordan. Thankfully, alongside the more experimental and indeed heavier moments, the band don’t forget to suck the listener back from oblivion with hummable melodies, as can be heard on the previously mentioned Sand and the alluring yet grimy Silent Gold.

Morphing from post-hardcore sensation into southern metal purveyors to mention but a few of their incarnations, He Is Legend have pooled their collective résumé into a sound that is uniquely them. It’s what makes Few such an fascinating listen as unlike the foggy brilliance of Heavy Fruit or the jittery fun of It Hates You, Few not only has something for most every fan of heavy sounds, but it twists and pushes each one of these elements, in turn getting the very best out of each track. Nearly fifteen years in the making, He Is Legend might just have put together their most cohesive record yet and no doubt an early contender for album of the year.

Few is out April 28th on Spinefarm Records.