Album Review: Undeath – It’s Time… To Rise From The Grave

Album Review: Undeath - It's Time... To Rise From The Grave
Reviewed by Sam Jones

I absolutely loved Undeath’s debut album. I loved their Demo work, it was exquisite. So when I saw Undeath were already prepping to launch their sophomore studio record, I was hooked. Cue a short time later and Its Time… To Rise From The Grave was officially announced and a lovely April release date at that too. But given their 2018 date of formation, the band have certainly been busy in the last few years having released an utter slew of Demos, Live Albums, Compilations and a Split to boot as well. But then Undeath released Lesions Of A Different Kind in the back end of Pandemic-ridden 2020, a huge work of death metal that went on to become one of many people’s top releases of the year; myself included. So when I managed to get my hands on Undeath’s upcoming album, I was equally ecstatic and cautious; could the band remake their initial success? Their debut work was a massive breakthrough for them. Teaser tracks released prior to the release suggested things may be somewhat different but the same energies were mightily present. So let’s take a peek behind the evil curtains and ponder on what precisely Undeath have risen from the dead this time round.

Not a second is wasted getting us straight into the midst of this record, it’s abundantly clear that Undeath wanted to get underway as soon as they possibly could following the end of their first album. What I did pick up on pretty quickly however, is a change in their guitar sound. Where their first record sported a downtuned and chugging tone, this time round the band are showcasing a sound that’s a lot more eviscerating and features a much more rapid-fire pacing than what we’ve heard from Undeath beforehand. It’s the first time we’ve really experienced the band vying for a genuine speed in their songwriting; granted it’s not like they played metal akin to Doom on their first record but the sense of speed they achieve here stands as polar opposite to what they attempted beforehand. The heavy and low tone is still present mind you, except it’s picked up a notch.

All in all, this record feels like a much more ravenous beast than what they’ve done before. It’s as if they decided to fully relinquish any constraints and chains that may have previously been bonded to their efforts. Their first album was a big milestone however with their second album, feats such as these are becoming commonplace for them, so I believe they’ve felt a lot more freedom and confidence to do whatever they want. The production doesn’t come off as strangles and precise this time, the riffs and songwriting as a while has been lent much more freedom to move around in. This in turn has resulted in a soundscape that’s far more chaotic, where you feel all the snarls and bile that emanate from such a record. Where their first studio outing was macabre and nasty, this album is furious and has torn loose it’s shackles at last.

Album Review: Undeath – It’s Time… To Rise From The Grave

If anything, I’d argue that the vocals better suit the more ferocious offerings of songwriting that Undeath cooked up this time round. The vocals were always one of the best features of their past album and Demo work, but by going down this direction I’d say the vocals are more apt and fit in more cleanly with the band’s more aggressive soundscape. Vocally it’s still reminiscent of that David Vincent-Morbid Angel style where you can feel the power and baritone rising from the depths of their frontman’s throat, but against a backdrop of the band’s present songwriting it seems to stick out, if anything, even more now. That heightened sense of violence within their sound compliments the fiery vocal performance effortlessly as, instead of being at the forefront of the band’s persona, they now intersect with the rest of the instrumentation. They’re still mixed in strongly enough to stand out without being drowned by the rest of the band, but they feel to sit a little more naturally within the band’s more ruthless songwriting style.

From a structural viewpoint it’s quite straightforward. Ten tracks in total and each one roughly 3/4 minutes long. But what allows this to work in the band’s favour is their massive power that flows from one track and into the next. the sheer strength this album manages to exert is something to behold as it’s not just contained within one or two tracks, but something that avalanches throughout each ensuing song. Since each track is less than four minutes long and comes packing with such power, that means the energy hardly has time to dissipate at the end of one song before the next is swooping in to reinvigorate the record and so on and so forth. Ultimately the record is gradually picking up additional speed and power until you’re reaching the end of the record, by which time the band have accumulated an astonishing, rolling aesthetic that is only going to barrel over you. But it’s the kind of devastation you’re all there for because it’s completely natural to the flow that the album instils within you.

In conclusion, Undeath’s slight alteration in approach to songwriting and album production may be met with unease from fans who deeply enjoyed their offering (such as myself) but, it’s undeniable that what they done to tweak their sound genuinely works and if anything has actually resulted in a more powerful and memorable record. We can also look back and view Undeath as having two albums that each work to their accord even when the styles are very different. I like to think Undeath are gaining confidence and are fully embracing what sound they’d really like to develop as this work showcases. As an album I think I prefer this over their debut studio effort, yet that’s not to say I believe one approach to songwriting is better than the other. Exemplary modern day death metal that will burl you over again and again, it’s inherent power is deeply addicting.

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