>> Emerging from the basements of Rochester, NY are the death metal connoisseurs Undeath, who have gained considerable traction in the region, and in the death metal scene, since releasing their demo in March. The band teamed up with label Caligari Records who specialize in “harsh and unlovable music” and have hit the ground running since. Playing shows as a 3 piece (they’re looking for a bassist - hit them up if you can tour while matching their level of brutality) across major cities in the Northeast and, of course, at the Bug Jar. The band features vocalist Alex Jones, guitarist Kyle Beam, and drummer Matt Browning who all revel in what sounds like a musical score to the apocalypse. The band is back after a successful first run of their demo and initial shows, now sporting a slightly more polished and crisper sound; 'Sentient Autolysis,' their second EP which was released in late July.
I had to look up what this title could possibly mean as a title is generally symbolic of the overall message of the work. Of course, the meaning is unquestionably brutal. Sentient means to be able to feel or perceive things, while autolysis means the destruction of cells by their own enzymes. That being said, my interpretation is that the title references the ability to feel your body or a body attack itself. Ouch. The first track “Enhancing the Dead” begins with a breakneck riff that is backed with powerful percussion and brutal growling by Jones that makes you want to bang your head. One of the most standout features of the opening track is the menacing nature of Jones' vocals over the organized chaos instrumentation. He was the vocalist of both Druse and Bonemask from the Rochester area and used different vocal styles for both projects. Once again, we find another project fronted by Jones where he unlocks a new level of expanding his vocal cords into different harsh sounds. Undeath finds him muttering lows and growls that sound like they're coming from an inhumane monster. Look no further than the three-minute mark of the track to see what I’m talking about. After an indisputably evil growl, the track launches into a breakdown that will make you want to destroy everything in your close proximity. Fun!
One of the more notable features of the EP is the in-sync nature of Beam's riffing with Browning’s drumming. Even though the instrumentation is all over the place, as is consistent with the genre of death metal, it’s clear the band has chemistry with each other. The second track “Phantasmal Festering,” as well as being my favorite, is a transparent example of that. Their timing is straight-up perfect, and they know when to make their audience feel included in the brutality and when to make them feel alienated. The bouncy riff of the song at the 1:40 mark reminds me more of a metalcore banger than anything I’ve heard in death metal before, yet within sixty seconds, they are moving into different territory- smashing the listener in the head by picking up the pace by lightyears until the track ultimately explodes on itself. At the four-minute mark, I recall softly muttering “oh my god,” awestruck by the utter destruction the band put forth. The third song “Grave Osmosis” offers another example of Undeath showcasing great timing between guitar and drums with brutal vocals lingering over the shadows. The record concludes with “Pursued then Consumed” a great conclusion to the EP, which leaves a lasting impression upon the expanding quality Undeath is capable of in a genre that can easily be overshadowed by clichés and repetition.
A few listens into the EP and it’s obvious why Undeath is making a remarkable splash in the death metal scene after only existing publicly for a mere six months. Just a look at their Bandcamp page shows you people are not only buying their record (yup, you read that right) but are genuinely excited about the sinister sounds they’re creating. Definitely be on the lookout for Undeath as people across the nation are deservedly taking note. <<