Unmerciful, a band not heard from in album form since 2006 and one that by all accounts could have been dead around 2009, finally offer up their second technical and brutal death metal full length Ravenous Impulse. The band has been through its ups and downs over the years including a revolving door of members and the aforementioned break. However, for this album, the staff are more than competent at this devastating branch of death metal. Unique Leader has quite the ear for this sort of punishment and this album does not disappoint.
Technical death metal is, for some, the red headed step child of metal. It’s gotten a bum rap over the years and — just like with any other genre — it does have its easy targets. But to toss it off simply based on those select few is absurd. So the question remains, why should you care about this album in particular. Well, for starters the band has enlisted the help of John Longstreth, the human nuclear bomb, on drums. In addition to Longstreth, there are two other members that have shared time in Origin which should at least shine a light on the staunch technical prowess you can expect throughout this album.
The success of this album lies not only in the capable hands of each of the five members here but there’s also a deep rooted feel of classic death metal as well. And by classic I mean the dirty, nasty, and vile sort of death metal. No need to look further than the title track for examples. The thick lumbering riffs lurking just under the rapid fire tempo changes are vaguely reminiscent of early Cannibal Corpse and Kris Bolton’s guttural vocals rival the satanic venom of Glen Benton. Later on “Kill Reflex” the intensity is at an all time high with Longstreth absolutely slaying the drum performance. I can’t say enough about how much his efforts have elevated this album. For anyone that is familiar with his work over the years, you already know what I mean.
There’s really no let up in the attack of razor sharp guitar work and robotic precise percussion until closer “Methodical Absolution”. And even here the pull back in speed is only temporary. In these fleeting moments the band slither into Incantationesque sort of doom/death plods. However, for the remainder of the track it’s all about each member digging deep and showing off their abilities. Twin guitars are punctuated by the pulse quickening rhythm section and there’s enough bass riffs throughout to fill at least two more full lengths. The album as a whole has a really good flow to it, granted its a sonic beat down from the first song to the last. But the album excels in not giving in to listener fatigue nearly as fast as a lot of technical and brutal death metal has the tendency to do.
On Ravenous Impulse, Unmerciful return from a ten year hiatus with a vengeance. Any death metal fan looking for something with venom and bite will find plenty to dig into here. Granted it may not be something you could listen to on repeat for days but it is entertaining and features absolutely awe inspiring performances all around. Between the technical aspect and the classic death metal approach this second effort from Unmerciful is a juggernaut and one that you won’t want to miss.