Review Date: April 2021
Released: 2021, Independent
Two years after the release of their debut album ‘Savior’, New Hampshire’s Unflesh is back with their second full length called INHUMATION. The album was mixed and mastered by renowned musician and engineer V. Santura (Triptykon, Dark Fortress, etc) at Woodshed Studios in Landshut, Germany, and the killer album cover is by artist Junki Sakuraba.
The press release described the band as ‘blackened melodic death metal’ – and while everyone’s definition of those various genres is different, to my ears these guys produce high quality, technically proficient death metal. This is really apparent when, after a brief instrumental, track #2 comes on and hits you like a truck. I guess the title “Vast Forest of Impaled Cadavers” should have clued me in, but still it was a pleasant surprise. I’ll take death metal that’s done well over melodeath any day, and that’s what Unflesh is all about.
Make no mistake, though, this record is not lacking in melody, or catchy song structures. “Amongst Horrors Must I Dwell” is a good example – with an acoustic piece in the intro and a mid-paced, atmospheric feel. The lyrics tell a tale of a darkened soul watching life fade away, drifting into the blackness beyond. Nothing about this album sounds easy to play, and drummer Jeff Saltzman is an absolute beast. I believe he has filled in as a touring drummer for Allegaeon – so that gives you an idea of the skill level we’re talking about. I have no idea how bands like this continue to push the limits of human endurance.
There’s something here for fans of all forms of death metal. The production is excellent, and vocalist/guitarist Ryan Beevers has a vicious growl that is clear and easy to understand. If you prefer blistering tempos, then “The Sepulchral Depths” will be right up your alley. If you like more of a mid-pace, with some bursts of speed thrown in, then check out the album closer “Dehumanized Legion”. I really liked the guitar solo in that one.
This is an album that takes multiple listens to hear all of the intricate guitar work and songwriting. Check out their Bandcamp page for physical releases and merch. Highly recommended for fans of modern death metal.