Under No God
Released: 2010, Indie
When I was writing reviews this month I had a real run of high quality albums from lesser known bands. I was beginning to think I was being too generous in my rating. But I suppose that is not necessarily the case. Eventually there have to be some average bands and average albums in the pile; it can’t ALL be good! So that brings us to Fallen Decade from British Columbia, Canada
On the plus side, these guys are totally pro. Their package and presentation is kick-ass. A very nice, ominous album cover greets the eye, a clever title, and a great booklet, great booklet, glossy paper, full colour photos, lyrics, a nice design and layout as professional as you are going to get for an indie band. Then production is nice and loud, modern, full and clear, a job well done.
The individual performances are also really good. These guys can play and perform, lots of intensity, energy, and anger. UNDER NO GOD are a pretty damn heavy proposition, aggressive and abrasive, never quite death or thrash but a modern blend of the two styles. There are some good solos as well, lots of guitars and chugging riffs. There are many, many bands in this style and I suppose that’s why I felt a bit underwhelmed. The band have pretty much everything going for them, hard work, talent, pro attitude but something’s missing.
I suppose I’m not a fan of the Phil Anselmo style of shouted vocals. When a singer shouts or roars the person loses much of the natural range and emotion in the voice. The anger is there but anyone can scream and the vocals are virtually indistinguishable from any other dude in this type of band who grew up listening to Pantera or Fear Factory. Fallen Decade I think struggles with the challenge that many of these bands do, namely it is hard to be heavy and melodic the same time. Often the bands try to do both but succeed at neither. If you are going to be heavy, be heavy. If you are going to be melodic, go for it. But it is really hard to hit that sweet-spot that blends the two styles. It’s not really heavy enough for Thrash, Death, Black metal fans, but too abrasive and not catchy enough or progressive for the true metal, or power metal crowd. It’s really hard to do. Bands like Nevermore and Divinity have been able to it, bridge that gap, but Fallen Decade haven’t refined their song-writing craft enough yet.
It’s an average album in a style that is not my favorite (bias stated up front) but the band are really good at what they do. If you are a fan of the Sepultura’s Pro-Pains, Bio-Hazards and Pantera’s of the world, these guys will be right up your alley, and I’d fully recommend it. What they do, they do well.