Monday, September 12, 2011

Undying - The Whispered Lies Of Angels

I hated alot of the hardcore kids in the 90's for trying to co-opt metal and get away with not calling it metal.  They'd call it "metalcore" or whatever, trying to somehow disinfect themselves so they could dress like they were cutting class from a suburban prep school, backpack and all, and go to the In Flames show and "dance hard." I thought it was a pretty thin sham of a style and (much like In Flames,) one of the great failings of the metal scene... and there was SO MUCH of it. There must have been a thousand identical records that came out between 1999 and 2005 that you really couldn't tell if it was Prayer For Cleansing or Soilwork (or Darkest Hour, or Dark Tranquillity...) and for every listenable one, there were 5 shitty ones that came out.  I won't name names (*koff koff*Trivium*koff), but if it came out on Tribunal, you were pretty guaranteed it was false metal.   There were some shining moments though and the first two Undying releases were all of them.  Undying released one EP and two full lengths throughout their career, and the final full length was lackluster.  It was another one of those faceless "guitarmony" records that were being spat out at the rate of a hundred a week and I've never made it through a full listen.

This post is in honor of the first full length though, "The Whispered Lies Of Angels," and just because there was still room in the 100mb limit for the upload, I added the EP, "This Day All Gods Die."

Undying featured well written and literate ethical vegan lyrics. Musically though, they were total unabashed Dissection worship.  Maybe not in the rhythm department, but definitely in the twin guitar attack.  I heard Undying first though, and even now revisiting them, if given the choice between the two, I'd probably still rather listen to Undying.  I don't dig breakdowns, but somehow, this band was able to make them work tastefully and they were not cheesy.  It was just good songwriting. They played here once. I really don't remember too many people showing up.  It was on the "Whispered Lies..." tour cycle.  They still had Timmy singing for them, who left shortly due to a diagnosis of throat cancer.  At some point in the show, the microphone broke, so he threw it against the wall and ran around the room, grabbing audience members and screaming the lyrics directly into their faces.  The performance was vicious and more metal bands needed to take heed of that energy. (that being said, since 2005, many have.)  All the corpse paint and spikes in the world couldn't supplant some true piss and vinegar.  Neither could passionless hairwhipping, a backline of expensive amps or gravity blasting.  These guys killed it without triggered drums, or picksweep arpeggios and even without a microphone at one point.  At the time, that was the reason I was more into hardcore groups like Undying and Catharsis rather than Dimmu Borgir or Dying Fetus.  The irony is that now, the 'false' hardcore bands are going for the big time marketing blitzes, merchandising and triggered drums and releasing completely uninspired albums on Roadrunner records that sell 10,000 copies, and Cradle Of Filth's last two albums have actually been kinda good.  Looks like everyone is meeting happily in the middle. 

Before As I Lay Dying, Unearth and The Black Dahlia Murder took an already piss-poor formula and pissed more poor into it, ONE band had it right, and in the process, introduced a lot of people to My Dying Bride through their untitled 'bonus' track.


OK, now that I am listening to it, the final album, "At History's End" isn't nearly as bad as I remembered it.  It just seemed to come out at a time when the style was completely (and remains to be) completely over saturated. It's definitely not as raw as the two I uploaded, but it still maintains the same energy.