Awakening in the Cemetery Grave
posted on 7/2012 By:
Like their fellow Spaniards in Graveyard, Unconsecrated looks to their northeast for inspiration. This is death metal done the Swedish way, with the appropriate buzzsaw tone and d-beat-leaning drum beats. Awakening In The Cemetery Grave is a compilation of everything Unconsecrated has released thus far – the Slave To The Grave EP, released on Dark Descent in 2010, and their sole full-length, 2008’s Unconsecrated Cemetery / Dark Awakening, which is itself just two demos bundled together.
Awakening is sequenced in reverse chronological order, so the material from Slave To The Grave opens the set, bookended by an eerie choir intro and the lovely “Breath Of Desolation,” which is only an acoustic-guitar driven instrumental interlude and yet still a standout track. “Desolation” shows that Unconsecrated has some compositional chops that the remainder of Awakening doesn’t quite exploit, and regrettably, the band never attempts anything like that track again. The rest of this is competent Swedeath, by no means shabby or uninteresting, but still just another soundalike band in a veritable flood of the same. Guitarists Dave Devour and Overlord toss off tremolo-picked and chunky thrashier riffs in equal measure, while vocalist Kent rarely deviates from a throaty low growl, though a few more midrange gutturals emerge towards the album’s end. (Also, seriously, “Kent”? Dave Devour… Overlord… and Kent. Surely you can come up with a better stage name than that, dude. Work with me here…) The drums on the earlier material (which is two-thirds of the record) are programmed, but aside from their mechanical precision, they don’t sound processed, and had I not checked the band's line-up, I wouldn't have noticed.
None of Awakening deviates from the expected norm in terms of tone or production or songwriting. While Unconsecrated certainly doesn’t embarrass themselves as songwriters, it’s still perhaps telling that the album’s closing track, a cover of Unleashed’s “Dead Forever,” is also its best. Aside from “Breath Of Desolation,” the inclusion of which isn’t a new trick but yet remains a well-executed one, there are no surprises here – the riffs are simple, sometimes catchy and sometimes rote; mostly the tempos are thrashing or mid-tempo, with a few notable downshifts into near-doom territory. Though it doesn’t expand the palette, Awakening is enjoyable taken for what it is, which is an homage.
There’s no shortage of Swedeath tributes these days, that much is certain. At this point, whether you need more is entirely up to you. In the pantheon of recent Swedish retread (“Swe-tread?”), there are worse bands than Unconsecrated (Zombiefication, Massive Assault), and there are far better (Black Breath, Entrails). Unconsecrated is (or rather, was, since the band is currently on hiatus) a respectable outfit, if an unoriginal one. Ye ravenous collectors of all things Sunlight-sounding, assuming such people exist and are still ravenous in the wake of the glut, here’s another one for your pile of skulls.
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