Release DetailsLABEL Conquest Music
RELEASED ON 3/4/2003
Behind Mankind's Disguise
posted on 10/2003 By:
I like surprises, and by its very definition Underthreat’s debut album is a definite surprise; rather good melodic death metal from….Columbia of all places. Rather than just go away, melodic death metal just seems to plant its seeds in new countries, where somehow good bands seem to take the once thought dead genre and give it new life. Holland (Detonation, As it Burns), Poland (Elysium, Serpentia) and even Turkey (In Spite, Cidesphere), are all churning out perfectly acceptable forms of the genre, making the Swedish originators' recent offerings pale in comparison, with only The Duskfall in my opinion doing the scene's originating country real justice. Full of every expected trapping of the genre, Behind Mankinds Disguise is a solid if slightly unoriginal exercise in Swedish flattery; catchy; dual guitar riffs, addictive hooks and memorable foot-tapping structures are the order of the day. Starting with a orchestral intro for album opener “Blame Game Theory”, these Gothenburg obsessed South Americans churn out 12 above average tracks that should satisfy anyone that thought Nightrage was a slight disappointment (that might only be me). All bases are covered; rollicking, up tempo gallopers (“Face of Emptiness”, “Infestation”, “The Warning”), slower, mid paced mood invokers (“The Ghost in the Machine”, “Mirrors of Dejection”), and an instrumental, (“The End of Grace”). But Underthreat’s best ability is creating lengthy, developed tracks that contain just enough of everything to keep each song entertaining, even if slightly familiar. The longer, fuller songs like the title track, “The Serpents Lick”, and the “Gates of Deception”, writhe with the energy of a genre newly discovered, injected with the vigor of a band not jaded or aged by the genres' sometimes unwelcome longevity. Throw in some acoustics, some rousing clean sung choruses, and it makes for a satisfying 1996 listen. As to be expected from a smaller market band on a tiny label, the production ain’t no Berno or Abyss thunderous noise. In fact it's quite weak, resulting in a similar feel to Impedigon’ s "As Desire Fades”, but their songs were utterly ruined by the production, here you're just marginally aware it's not quite as crisp as their European or even US counterparts. Still, they make up for it with an admirable form of flattery that’s energetic and competent. Only the drummer seems to be the ‘weak’ leak, not because he’s bad, but because he seems overly busy. Needless fills and rolls back many of the riffs and solos at seemingly random times and many times he’s simply inserting beats where they don’t sound right. One of the more surprising albums I’ve heard this year, considering where it came from, so fans of the genre should definitely check it out.
Register to post comments.