Review Summary: Smashing. Shredding. Screaming. What an incredible melodic release.
German death metal has always held an air of superiority and power that other countries have been hard-pressed to counter. A perfect example of this is melodic death metal newcomers Uncreation
, who showcase technical proficiency, creative song structure, and powerful, forceful vocals that will define their sound as long as they continue to make music. This is German melodeath. This is proficient, well-executed material. This is Burning Blood
, and it's a wondrous excursion into Uncreation's musical minds.
While the band's musical career has only recently begun, all band members seem very comfortable with expansive, creative, and technically-demanding positions on the team. The guitarists will be shredding solos almost as much as they sling catchy, melodic riffs. The drummer rampages with his feet when it's appropriate and with his hands when it's not. The vocalist has a wide range of highs, mids, and lows, be they growled or screamed, and his delivery is well-measured and precise. No part of this mix seems outplayed by the other, and they mesh extremely well - with the exception of the double bass, which I personally felt was underproduced. All aspects of the instrumentation seem powerful enough in their own right, but the double bass seems too quiet in many cases. That being said, accomplishing what Uncreation has done with their debut album is incredibly difficult for many new bands who haven't found their style. The vocals shriek and scream as the guitars shred and the drums blast relentlessly. This mix does not fall into chaos, nor does it grow disinteresting. It achieves a balance that other bands can only vie for, and this stage of maturity at such an early time in their career indeed makes one think about what they could possibly have in store for listeners next time around.
The guitars and drums are the first instrumental sounds you will hear on Burning Blood
, and the guitar shrieks and drum beats on the second track "Uncreation" (the first being an introductory track) are the first real example of the excellent mixing in action. The track makes use of its instrumental predecessor for a sudden change of pace that really defines the feel of the record as a whole, and this is exactly what an opening track needs to do. This is the band's only chance at a first impression, and "Uncreation" will certainly impress listeners who follow bands like Kalmah
, Amon Amarth
, and Blackguard
. The melodic shredding and solos that are pervasive throughout this record show a strong power metal influence, but they still fit extremely well with the strong death sound of Uncreation. The clean guitar passages add counter-harmony at key moments, tying things back to the sudden changes of pace that you heard at the beginning and leading into the next set of riffs, chords, and solos. Everything seems at once seamless, but at times sudden. It's this creative song structuring that allows the band to truly thrive, incorporating all of their respectable influences into the mix without sacrificing order, control, or sound fidelity. From the power chords and low-distortion solos to the full-on mosh-inspiring melodic riffs, the guitarplay on Burning Blood
You can count on this record to throw more than a few surprises your way, but the drumming is the one surprise that may listeners will overlook, being far more enthralled by the incredibly guitarplay. The drumming maintains the same structural mentality as the guitars; it is equally sudden, yet seamless, as drummer Tobias Ruge comfortably keeps pace with the shrieking guitar solos and the slow, pseudo-folk pieces. Regardless of what pace or mood a track is exhibiting, Ruge's drumming is working its magic, attempting to keep that careful balance between orderly and chaotic. The potential for bedlam and musical anarchy is incredible, but what is paramount to Uncreation’s style is that they creatively push the envelope until they decide that it's close enough to chaos for their album. Their drums support this style tremendously by framing each individual song segment with drum tracks that truly fit like a glove. Ruge’s drumming is more than varied enough for my tastes, and adds an extra layer of depth and structure to the album’s content. The drum tracks will indeed throw a cornucopia of cymbal slamming, blast beating, and high-frequency double bass action – and when it’s accompanied by a drummer who has the virtuous skill of control and dynamic, it makes for one hell of a record.
Finally, we arrive at the vocals – what makes or breaks bands for many a listener. If you don’t like powerful highs and mids over low screams and growls, this band may not be as “heavy” as you want them to be, but make no mistake. Uncreation is not a band with clean vocals. Vocalist André Emme has a very strong range and alternates between high growls that make one reminisce of blackened death metal act Goatwhore
and a strong mid-range scream that sounds closer to a cross between Amon Amarth
than anything else. Emme’s vocals fit extremely well with the backing instrumental work. Although he rarely uses vocal layering, his style is powerful enough to not need it nearly as much as many other death metal bands do these days, and it seems like his vocals really hit home in terms of animation and emotion. More than anything, Emme is the frontline soldier of Uncreation, delivering their views and their passion for music in a way far more obvious than the instrumental work, and he does an incredible job of it.
All in all, Uncreation has hit a mark far higher than is expected of most debut records, and I fully expect equally impressive material the next time they drop an album. They are way ahead of the pack, in terms of musical progression and positive song structure, and all of their instrumentations complement each other incredibly well. Burning Blood
is an incredibly melodic piece with soothing slow passages, headbanging fast-paced segments, and mosh-worthy brutal sequences. Coming from an underground band, this is an amazing accomplishment for Uncreation. Keep an eye out for their next record, and check this one out, while you’re at it.
3. “Breaking the Innocence”
5. “Moonlight Rain”