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Uncanny - Splenium For Nyktophobia
Review: It is not wholly inaccurate to describe this album as a halfway point between the first albums from Suffer and Entombed; like the former, it constructs a variegated codex shadowing underpinning rhythmic motives in the abrasive barrage generated by recursive patterns of power chords signalling by chronological position a changing sequence of similar patterns; like the latter, it introduces and transitions songs with the presentation flair of a gothic cathedral, pinioning like structures through convergence on a common tendency and then contrasting them vividly against a denouement or continuation in alteration of that same: vast differences construct a similarity only in the theory that unites them.
Fans of Meshuggah will note a prevalence of the semaphore battery of open and muffled powerchords in geometrical progressions of relative frequency recursing toward a meme of dominant low-end anchoring in a pattern of rhythmic triad, but this technique is used sparingly, and as the album develops the confidence of these Swedes in writing not only logical phrases but getting them airborne with a graceful and yet unsentimental melody expands, resulting in a direction closer to the grandiose cinematic channeling of numinous beauty favored by bands like Dismember and At the Gates (back before both decided to emphasize rhythm, pentantonics and popularity: easily digestible music uses only clearly symbolic notes and rhythms that bounce between the denotational and its offset so to emphasize the former).
If another Uncanny album occurs, it would do well to inherit the textural deepening that made "Left Hand Path" a stalwart despite its rockish tendencies, something less present in this album in part because of a substitution of Discharge-inspired three-note riff chains over serial percussion evolving within the same tempo. Vocals are gruff expulsions that trail into whispers; bass follows guitar with a welcome subtlety; percussion is a racehorse dropping pockets in order to thunder them home; thankfully, the unfortunately bluesy noodling of Dan Swano interrupts only one track, but he did an excellent job on the record's production. A clear inheritor the Swedish pantheon, Uncanny lack the slickness of presentation the larger bands had or the constant hookiness, but for a death metal experience in the literal revelations of structure that made Asphyx and Deathstrike so revolutionary to music of the time, this band reigns supreme and translated over those boundaries of very different types of death metal, walks in the valley of Swedish death metal warlords alongside the more recognized names.