Thursday, 12 April 2012

Undead Pandemic - The Rising

Self Released 2012

1.The Rising 2.Scorched Earth 3.The Prophesy 4.Black Lightning Rapture
5.Grim 6.Obscene Deformities 7.Satans Army 8.Unholy Sonata 9.Desolation

Title track and opener ‘The Rising’ begins menacingly, an uneasy atmosphere being stirred before all hell breaks loose. There’s an extremely industrial feel to this (as the band describe) blackened death/grind, the guitars are barely present under a drone like bass and utterly beast like vocals. ‘Scorched Earth’ is similar in approach, the guitars extremely bass heavy and barely even playing riffs from what can be heard. Describing the music as ‘Blackened Death / Grind’ is a fairly inaccurate description. Throw in some drone, some industrial metal and even some dance/techno beats and rhythms and you’re beginning to get the picture. It’s a real mish-mash of influences which all sounds too dis-jointed and unconnected. Everything from the music, to the drum machine to the vocals appears to have had effect after effect layered into their sound with the end result beginning to take on a mix of ‘sounds’ rather than songs and music in the traditional sense of the term. ‘The Prophecy’ shows hints of the black metal side to the band’s sound through the use of eerie keyboards which become the focus of this track, the guitars falling off and again, barely audible. As ever, the vocals give everything that ‘industrial feel’, being heavily over saturated with effects. The track ends by again using the black metal style keyboards, but are really nothing too original, although a fitting end nonthesless. 
‘Black Lightning Rapture’ is probably the most menacing the band have sounded so far, vocals taking on a very demonic sound with the keyboards again keeping an eerie atmosphere to proceedings. ‘Grim’ blasts in annoyingly, the drum machine raging at an inhuman pace. It’s the drum programming which gives these tracks an almost techno feel, even though they are programmed at lightning speeds. ‘Obscene Deformities’ sounds different, the guitars actually well up in the mix and this track does take on a more distinct and traditional feel. 'Satan's Army' is another strange affair, featuring some really unusual and what only can be described as ‘programmed noises’, not even sure which instrument is spewing the said racket. It’s a shame, because those strange noises distract you from listening to the track and its over before you’ve really taken anything else in. As seen earlier, that strange noise begins to take on a drone edge, but it’s too high pitched and ends up becoming over bearing and ultimately annoying.
‘Unholy Sonata’ is an eerie keyboard interlude, fine for what it is and is a melodic break in the unholy racket which is being stirred up. ‘Desolation’ is the last of the tracks (although this version does feature five bonus tracks) and is the longest of the tracks by far, coming in at just over six minutes as opposed to the usual average of two minutes. It’s a real mess, way too much going on, vocally it’s all over the place and really confusing. Well performed but too overpowering. An atmospheric interlude breaks the track up; slow keyboards accompanied by mournful spoken and whispered passages which take over and are a welcome break in proceedings. The track does return to the normal noise before ending abruptly. This really isn’t going to be for everyone and is very hard listening. Within each track there is so much going on that it’s really hard to actually keep up. The drums are programmed at inhuman speeds which (for me) is really hard to listen to, and when mixed with all those vocals which are “all over the place” make for an uncomfortable listening experience (maybe thats the intention though!). Being brutally honest, it’s hard to see how these tracks can be classed as blackened death/grind, the lack of guitars in the mix and the inhuman ‘techno’ feel to the drums makes sure of that. Add in the effect laden vocals and ‘Blackened Industrial Techno’ is probably nearer the mark. Undead Pandemic may be for those searching for something different or a style which moves away from the usual black/death/grind offerings but (for me) it’s nothing more than a confusing mix of influences which just doesn’t work. Original? Maybe, but it’s something a lot will find hard to identify with.

4 out of 10

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