Unearthly Trance V
Release Date: 2010Sep28 (US)
Label: Relapse Records
Rating: 4.5/5

In the past decade, doom and sludgy metal/hardcore has become increasingly popular—a double-edged sword that allows hard-working acts more exposure and respect, but at the same time causes an increase in subpar music. However this is not the case with Unearthly Trace, who have been championing honest and real doom and gloom for around 10 years, and V is one of their strongest albums yet.

As I ride the train back from NYC, I cant help but think how those streets of Brooklyn influence the band. Unearthly Trance offer no bellbottom anthems or goofy la la land shit…that has its place but that place isn’t here. These occult anthems feel like they come from some back alley scum cult worshipping Aleister Crowley, junked out on AC current, and looking to subvert morality at every turn.

Musically, V returns to the direction perfected on In the Red, but has more of the immediacy and attention to song structure they hashed out on The Trident and Electrocution. It’s nice to hear the band return to that old wretched feeling while retaining everything they learned along the way. For those that don’t know, this means discordant noisy doom/metal rituals that twist and turn from Neurosis/Melvins tom-driven malevolence, crushing Celtic Frost/Saint Vitus influenced metal, and Burning Witch-by-way-of-Hawkwind levels of dark psychedelic energy. Vocals range from raspy vitriol to dark, brooding chants. This all works pretty seamlessly on V, and it sounds like three people that are more experienced and comfortable as a band.

Ultimately, Unearthly Trace is becoming its own entity. People looking for stoner riffs or note-for-note Black Sabbath worship should stick to something else, because this band is not on that path. While no album can be perfect, in the cesspool of modern doom this filth rises to the top. Fans of Winter, Burning Witch and Neurosis would do well to purchase V.

FCC: 7, 8

01. Unveiled
02. The Horsemen Arrive In The Night
03. Solar Eye
04. Adversaries Mask 1
05. Adversaries Mask 2
06. The Tesla Effect
07. Sleeping While They Feast
08. Submerged Metropolis
09. Current
10. Physical Universe Distorts
11. Into A Chasm
12. The Leveling


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