UnKured - Mutated Earth - (7.5/10)
Published on December 10, 2014
Genre:Progressive Death / Thrash
Cincinnati’s UnKured formed in 2010, releasing no less than SIX demos, including three in 2011, before releasing their debut album, As Reality Melts… in 2013. Continuing that prolific work rate, they have already unleashed its successor, Mutated Earth.
The band’s Facebook pages list about 100 bands as influences, from a range of metal genres. Their sound is best described as progressive death / thrash, combining elements of Pestilence, latter-day Death, Gorguts, Cynic and Vektor. Ironically, only the first two of these are included in the extensive list of bands mentioned by the band, although they do name Vektor as a band they like. The vocals are very much in the death metal camp, quite similar to the legendary Mr Schuldiner.
As suggested by the list of their influences, UnKured don’t keep things simple. They’re not fans of convention, preferring to mix up the styles, with chaotic yet effective results. Showing their lack of interest in the ‘norm’, UnKured follow up a good opening track, consisting of death metal with some progressive switches in sound, with an instrumental. It’s unusual to have the only instrumental on an album as the second track, but UnKured are an unusual bunch. As it happens, it’s not a bad track, but doesn’t show the band at their best.
To show the diversity on offer in Mutated Earth, “A World at Dusk” is mostly slow to mid-paced death metal with some thrashy riffs, while parts of the guitar solo that ends the song are similar to early Metallica or Megadeth. “Into Crumbling Ruin” has guitar parts that sound like No Place For Disgrace-Flotsam and Jetsam, shortly followed by a Bolt Thrower-like riff. The soloing could be Overkill or Testament and some of the riffs are like Pestilence. If this all sounds like utter madness … well, it is. But to misquote Megadeth, madness is good.
“Cells” often sounds like Death, for example the intro, some of the riffs and the bass in the song. Vocalist Cody Knarr does a great impression of Sir Schuldiner too, but … somehow it couldn’t be Death. Something doesn’t quite fit the Death mould, possibly the smorgasbord of riffs and changes in tempo, style etc. It switches between sounding like Death and something very different to Death. Incidentally, when Knarr snarls, “never to be told”, it’s difficult not to hear Chuck’s cry of “never be bought or sold” resonating from the mighty “Symbolic”.
“Twisted And Warped” couldn’t be a more apt song title for this band. It’s like early, primal death metal at times; bands like Morgoth spring to mind. In fact, it’s one of the least twisted and warped songs on the album and closest to no-frills death metal as UnKured get. Of course, there are frills and they can’t resist complicating things a little, adding some progressive touches, including the melodic guitar solo. It’s one of the best tracks and highly recommended as a fairly gentle introduction to the band.
Mutated Earth is all over the place and could perhaps be classified as Schizophrenic Metal; it’s as if UnKured very quickly get impatient with whatever they are doing and have to keep changing things to keep themselves interested. It’s like an extreme metal version of Voivod; there is chaos throughout, but order usually follows and most of the songs work well. Don’t expect to fall in love with this album immediately – it takes patience and a few listens, but ultimately it’s well worth the time.