Review Summary: Brutal and melodic Swedish old-school death metal? Yes please.
Old-school death metal is such a fantastic genre of music. So many bands and albums have come out of this genre that are considered absolute gems in the metal community and there is a lot less garbage you have to sift through to find these said gems. Albums such as None So Vile
, Effigy of the Forgotten
, and Symbolic
, just to name a few, are all more of the well known classics in the old-school death metal genre. However this particular Swedish band, Uncanny, and their first and only full-length album, Splenium for Nyktophobia
, don't seem to be mentioned all that much when mentioning some of the classic death metal albums of the 90's and I really don't see why that is. Uncanny is a band that meshes brutality and melody so well that it should be only fair that this album should be mentioned among the greatest in the death metal genre.
Like I pointed out, Uncanny has an uncanny ability (no pun intended) to blend together both melodic and brutally technical guitar riffs. Take for example the fourth track, Timeless. It's a purely instrumental track that perfectly demonstrates the band's ability to intertwine both the the technicality of the riffs and some really catchy leads. That's one thing that you will realize about the entire album, it's chock full of some of the catchiest riffs you will hear on a death metal album from this era. Now with that being said, this band isn't to be compared with some of the melodic death metal bands, such as Dark Tranquillity or In Flames, that were also coming out of Sweden at this time. Uncanny leaned a lot more towards the "death metal" side in the term "melodic death metal." While they had catchy leads, that's not to say that they didn't have the vicious, buzzsaw guitar tone as well. Something that fans of this genre should be all too familiar with. That is certainly the thing that sets this apart from other so-called melodic death metal albums. The drumming kinda takes a back seat in the production, with the guitars being higher in the mix, but you can still recognize that the drums are well-executed as well. Lots of blast beats of course as well as and technical fills. Again, something that is to be expected with this kind of music. The drums and guitars compliment each other very well on this album.
The production on this album is absolutely perfect. When I say perfect I don't mean that it's crystal clear, like something you would hear from some of the bands nowadays. Remember, this album was made in 1994 and the band definitely didn't have a big enough budget for crystal clear recording conditions. The sound of the album is gritty, but everything can still be heard. Like I mentioned before, the guitars are a little higher up in the mix than the bass and the drums, but it's nothing that would detract the album from being anything less than great. And to be honest, having the guitars higher in the mix doesn't do anything but help this album considering that the main focus of the album is on the quality of the riffs.
Really all there is to say about this album is that it is an underrated gem in the world of old-school death metal. It's all well and good that people hail None So Vile
as the best death metal albums ever made because quite frankly, they are some of the best. But what people need to realize is that the death metal genre goes far beyond only the well-known bands and Uncanny is a perfect example of that. Splenium for Nyktophobia
is the only full-length album that this band has ever recorded and that could very well be the reason why they aren't more well known. Either way, this album is fantastic and underapprecated and needs to be heard by metal fans everywhere, so do yourself a favor and give this album a chance. You're not going to regret it.