Heralding from Sutton, UK, Unheard Before the Wake give a nice throwback to early Death Metal. Significantly reminding me of some of the bands I grew up with like Sinister, Sadistic Intent, Cryptopsy and Morbid Angel. They have an interesting sound all the same and there is a certain freshness to it. The dreams showing a tendency for some interesting tunings or perhaps it's in how it's recorded. I particularly like the snare drum's slap. More recently we've seen Bloodbath make a come back for the same era. Recently in Death Metal we've seen new bands take to something that almost seems to forget its roots in favour of some completely new genres – with few exceptions. So it makes it all the more interesting when a new band can stay a bit more within the realms of Death Metal but still new.
The new EP, 'Humanity Burning' starts with it's title track, which isn't it's best effort. Here I feel that along with some standard sounds for the band we're offered some clean vocals that just doesn't feel very right. This is oddly enough contrasted by the next song 'Lurker' which offers a different take on clean vocals that feels dark and actually very complimenting making it one of the better songs on the EP. The slow grinding start builds to some powerful moments as the guitars pick up, the vocals get heavier and the drums blast in. 'Lurker' hits you with layers, slow at first, fast later and having moments of atmosphere that sustains it's emotions between the heavier moments. 'The Pluto God' is probably their best track on the EP and what starts with a fast and energetic but perhaps a bit messy introduction soon kicks in with some of the best rhythms and atmosphere that this Death Metal act have to offer. Unfortunately the odd moment of clean vocals, now being somewhat Iron Maiden -esque, hold the song back a bit. Fortunately there are very few moments of this and the songs true glory can shine past that. 'Right to Die' feels a lot more like the strengths of both the title track and 'Lurker', taking the clean vocals of 'Lurker' and using the power and speed of 'Humanity burning. The greatest power of this song lies in a very subtle move of introducing a barely noticeable symphonic element – much to a similar way that Morbid Angel's 'Immortal Rites'. We finish on a nice instrumental track with 'Humanity Burning (Reprise)' which after a moment of silence feels a bit like a hidden track rather than continuing the EP.
Unheard Before the Wake are a welcome return to what Death Metal is and shows that the genre can involve on it's own terms rather than continuing with spin offs. Death Metal, incidentally has been around since the 80's and shows an enduring strength. Unheard Before the Wake show a sound that is uniquely theirs but at the same time firmly rooted in Death Metal and this EP, though having some moments of weakness, show a very strong effort by the band and there are some very powerful songs on the EP well worth checking out.
Humanity Burning will be released April 29th 2016.