Xenoglossy, for those who were wondering, is the reputed paranormal phenomenon where someone can speak fluently in a foreign language that is otherwise unknown to them.
And so, the Progressive Death metal of Spain’s UNDEFINED, which at first seems more on the side of loud and thundering rather than technical, gradually begins to reveal a myriad of influences which encompass; Melodic Death, Black Metal, Progressive Metal, and even exotic Ethnic music forms. The band demonstrates an almost uncanny ability to channel so many different influences into a rather intelligible style, which is somewhat remarkable given that this is only the second release from the young band, and follow up to their 2005 demo EP “Saturnism Unfolds”.
The music is for the most part mid-to-faster tempo in nature and features pummeling blast beats, as well as growled, shrieked, and clean vocals, all of which are used with a pronounced melodic sense. Most of the songs are relatively long drawn out affairs that avoid blatant catchiness in favor of melodic development and the creation of dark almost Gothic atmospheres. Vocalist Gherion generally sings with a deep growl that reminded me of MOONSPELL’s Fernando Ribeiro. He also extensively uses raspy Black Metal vocals, and even on occasion some cleaner singing which although not my favorite, thankfully only makes a brief appearance on a few songs, including “Andreia” and Wings of Disembodiment”. The track “Andreia” also features some particularly weird spacey sound effects that perhaps match the oddness of the clean vocals!
With all these influences and stylistic departures it may take a while to fully get where these guys are going with all this, and it’s likely not the sort of album you’ll probably take to after just one listen. The musicianship from all is very good, and the crunchy multi-layered guitar work from the Allen-Perkins brothers is quite solid and fitting of the music. Drummer, D. Garijo, capably plays in a variety of styles from jazzy melodic sections to all out Black Metal attacks, while bassist J. González-Arintero lays down a solid foundation, but also isn’t afraid to be a little more forward in the music with some intricate melodies of his own.
My favorite part of the album was the trilogy of sorts comprised of the final three songs. The first part, “Metalogos (the Construction of Destruction)”, which although being a mostly Death Metal based piece, features a great instrumental guitar section that sounds a little Middle Eastern or Mediterranean in origin. It’s only used for an all too brief moment, but works brilliantly. The song also features many tempo changes and some powerful guitar rhythms that make for a monstrous and compelling slab of music. The song transitions seamlessly into “Hemisphere 207” which is based on heavy droning rhythm guitars reminiscent of music by ISIS and which also uses some interesting vocal effects overlaid upon the crushing music. Album closer, “Wings of Disembodiment”, speeds things up with its more aggressive drum work and also a return to the more intense BM style vocals.
Overall, it’s a solid and interesting album. To simplify things, I could perhaps describe the majority of their sound as MOONSPELL meets BOLT THROWER, but there’s more to them than that, and it’s their eclectic musical tastes that show up on occasion which makes for something very different from the norm. For a relatively young band, they seem to be on the right track towards something even more special.
(Online June 12, 2008)