Brooklyn's Unearthly Trance has crawled the Earth since 2000 but it was 2006's The Trident (Relapse) that brought them to a much wider audience. The droning feedback and trudging beats coupled with Ryan Lipynsky's deafening howl perfectly. Time changes abounded, as did genre hopping from sludge into a cacophonous grind and then everything in between. Songs like "You Get What You Want" brought well-deserved attention from both metal geeks and critics alike. I was not the only one looking forward to their follow-up, 2008's Electrocution (Relapse). It was with sadness that I tore it apart limb from limb but, holy hell, its lackluster approach never caught ground and it seemed as if they had already peaked. I poured one out for the death of what was once a fantastic band.
Needless to say I approached their latest, V, with the same lackadaisical energy and gusto as they had with their last album. I would gladly be punched in the face now for losing faith in what is now the newly resurrected Unearthly Trance, dangerous as ever and pleasantly both familiar and different in their strongest work to date.
"Unveiled" opens the album with unabashed power and focus. The lumbering darkness of the intro already far surpasses anything from recent years and with ears in the speakers the listener is ready to bleed the night away. With everything in place, the room allowed for Darren Verni's pounding crashes and controlled thunder sound better than ever. Match that up with Jay Newman's simple and needed bottom end and the occasional melodic line from Lipynsky's mammoth tone and all that's left is strong songwriting to wax the perfect sheen across the muscle that is this new Trance.
Where there was once late-blooming ADHD now a purpose steers the ship. Take, for instance, "Adversaries Mask 1" and "Adversaries Mask 2." The quiet intro of the prior showcases Lipynsky's deep and foreboding "There are kings/that will drink your last drop of blood…" only to eventually explode into one of the hardest hitting and rewarding choruses to ever find itself trapped in a metal song: sheer terror with no end in sight. The latter continues the mystery with wretched noise and feedback forcing the hands to shake along with the head in wonderment.
The looming mud of each and every track, from the upbeat (in comparison) "The Tesla Effect," to the poison honey of "The Leveling," build an album that can easily be regarded as the pinnacle of what doom is capable of. Equal parts Sunn O))), Eagle Twin, classic Gore, OM, and even their former selves all add up to this gem, this modern classic. V should be remembered as a band realizing their past mistakes and learning from such and marching forward to take their rightful place atop this mountain so many try to climb but few actually reach the apex of. [Relapse]
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