Tech Death Thursday: Undisclosed Dimensions
Undisclosed Dimensions came out of nowhere and blew my brains out the back of my skull. Dick move, guys.
Got a whole lot of news for you today:
- Melodic tech death with black metal bits and the occasional slam? Sure, why not? Nomvdic has a new album out tomorrow, and you can check out a couple songs right here. “The Crooked Man” is most definitely worth your time.
- The Ritual Aura has a new song out from their upcoming third album, Velothi. “Keening III” features the increasingly prolific Colin Butler and Fountainhead on vocals and lead guitar respectively, and it jams super hard. Look for the full album sometime next year.
- TDT alumni Slave One have a new EP on the way next month and a new single to show off. Give “Tunguska” a listen if you want a twisted take on some standard death metal ideas, and watch for An Abstract and Metaphysical Approach to Deceit on September 29th via Dolorem Records.
- Speaking of Dolorem Records, they’re also putting out the newest from Nephren-Ka. You can check out their first single right here. Full album on October 13th.
- Matthew Paulazzo of The Zenith Passage and Aegaeon will be joining Decrepit Birth on their upcoming tour with The Black Dahlia Murder. Check out the monstrous lineup and dates here.
- Sutrah has a pretty incredible sounding album on the way on September 22nd. Give “The Plunge” a listen if you’re in the mood for some crazy progressive death metal; there’s not much else out there that sounds like this (Virvum is the first thing that comes to mind, and even then the similarities are superficial).
- On the other hand, if you’re just looking for something that with drive and genital-obliterating riffs, turn your attention to Ukraine’s Karpathian Relict. Their album Beyond The Over comes out tomorrow and features some pretty wicked guitar and drum work; check that out if you want something to bang your head to.
- The Artisan Era has a big comp out, featuring tracks from all their artists. Highlights include a track from Order of Diptera’s upcoming debut and a new Equipoise song. Give the whole thing a listen here.
- If you prefer your tech death to actually be Mexican black metal, then Darkside Ritual has just the thing for you. Earthly Vulgarity is absolutely beastly, and you can get it for a whole $3 on Bandcamp. For those of you who don’t like tech death but read these articles anyway, don’t skip this one.
- Cattle Decapitation will be hitting the road in October with Revocation, Full Of Hell, and Artificial Brain. Dates here.
- The Archspire/Defeated Sanity tour Joaquin mentioned awhile back now has dates. The full lineup also includes Origin, Dyscarnate, Visceral Disgorge, and The Kennedy Veil.
Our featured band today is Undisclosed Dimensions with their newly-released debut EP, Awakening. Their style of tech death feels heavily influenced by modern prog acts, as well as some of their more atmospheric peers. They draw from the same deep emotional wellspring as Black Crown Initiate and soar alongside Fallujah, expressing their ideas with the same profundity as Animals as Leaders. All of this sprawling influence is wrapped up in a concise, competent, and surprisingly appealing death metal shell.
Now, to get this out of the way: after listening to those first few notes of “Severed Existence,” you might go into this record ready to hate it, as I was. The production on Awakening is sharp and sterile enough that you could do surgery with it, but as Undisclosed Dimensions is an international Internet-based band, it comes the territory. It’s also no secret that this style of production is utilized by djent and deathcore bands far and wide, which definitely influenced my expectations for the album. For the entirety of my first listen, I was bracing myself for the inevitable vapid breakdown to crop up and ruin the experience.
As you could guess at this point, that moment never actually came. Awakening mixes the best parts of short-hair prog with the ripping speed of tech death, resulting in a sound steeped in virtuosity that doesn’t sacrifice on melody. They strike a delicate balance between these two parts of their music, offsetting each blazing tech riff with a chill tapped guitar line or clean section. The band is at their best when these two distinct styles are mixed together. “Disperse” offers the best glimpse at this unification, bringing infectious grooves and melodies in spite of its brisk pace.
Even the harshness of the digital production is dampened with smart use of effects. The lead tone often either uses a different set of plugins from the rhythm or utilizes the neck pickup, giving it a mellower sound than the instruments behind it. The clean guitars and some of the higher parts are given ample reverb to dial the presence back while still allowing it to cut through, and the compression on the bass is enough to make it audible without destroying your ears. Occasionally, synths in cool shades of white and blue come into the forefront, and the tone of the instruments changes to match the ethereal atmosphere. It’s not necessarily an ideal sound, but the band did great working with the constraints of long-distance collaborative recording. It really sounds the best it could have in this setup and doesn’t detract too much from the music, which is all you can really ask for.
Production nitpicks aside, this is a great little EP from a project that shows a lot of promise. Awakening is downright addictive; it’s both intelligent and catchy, presenting a fresh combination of its collective influences. I really hope to see more from Undisclosed Dimensions in the future, because they’ve struck something special here. If you like what you heard today, be sure to check them out on Facebook. Awakening is available on Bandcamp for a paltry €3; show them some support! That’s all for this week, and as always,
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