Underflesh - "Black and White" (CD/EP)
"Black and White" track listing:
1. Unnatural Dreams (4:35)
2. Garuglia (4:31)
3. Frontier (4:08)
4. Thief in Authority (5:15)
Reviewed by tankakern on June 28, 2010
There seems to be a considerable force present in the French metal scene nowadays. With bands like the intricate Deathspell Omega and brutal but epic Benighted, France seems to be gaining some considerable authority in the metal scene. Underflesh is a French band, and for a first release, “Black and White” is definitely impressive. With interesting and progressive riffs, a good mix, and a great production quality, this EP is of a higher quality than most metal bands’ first offerings.
The band cites influences such as Gojira and Hacrid; you can definitely hear these influences in the progressive work throughout the album, but I would call Underflesh simply progressive death metal. That’s not to say, though, that there isn’t more going on here. They definitely have been listening to hardcore and even some post-metal, as I can hear influences from those genres as well, from the occasional breakdown-esque section to the lighter tremolo work. While Underflesh is adept at incorporating all of these elements into unity, this EP isn’t quite perfect and could use a bit more.
While the music is heavy all the way through, the tempo on “Black and White” remains about the same throughout. I think it would benefit the band to add some variety in the time signatures. Where they could have incorporated a lightning fast part, Underflesh keeps the speed about the same. This choice really drags this EP down, as even most doom metal bands kick the tempo up a few notches occasionally to add more interest.
Aside from that, the progressive elements Underflesh have utilized in “Black and White” give this EP a very full sound. Aside from a couple of sections, no part of this EP sounds hollow or lacking in substance. This is prevalent from beginning to end, and while one might say that this isn’t much of a feat on a four track EP, it still works. While the songs tend to sound the same, “Thief In Authority” is by far the strongest track on the album with a nice solo on the end. Underflesh needs to write more songs like this one.
As I said before, as a first EP, Underflesh have done rather well for themselves on “Black and White.” The music is full of substance and vigor and is just heavy enough. Hopefully, the minor issues on this EP will be ironed out by the time they release their first full length album.
Highs: Sound is heavy and full.
Lows: Tempo remains the same throughout.
Bottom line: While by no means perfect, "Black and White" is a high quality debut from this French metal band.
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