Under Eden - An Aeons-Long Shadow
Sleaszy Rider Records
Death Metal
9 songs (46' 24")
Release year: 2017
Sleaszy Rider Records
Reviewed by Andy

Returning after a six-year pause in album-making, St. Paul death metal outfit Under Eden lays down a thrash-oriented death metal sound with a lot of melody in their newest, An Aeons-Long Shadow. An album dominated by the guitars, with an almost painfully sharp production, it's a good, solid album following the same themes of extraterrestrial meddling with humanity that they had on their last one.

The production needs some getting used to. Everything's so treble-filled on the first track, Aeon Alpha-Storming Primordial Shores, that for a second I thought this was a demo. Nope, it's just the way they mixed the drums and guitars. Halfway through the second track you forget all about the odd production and get down to some nice headbanging: the band knows both how to thrash and how to write a consistent melody that combines off-kilter beats with a wrist-breaking rhythm palm-mute, such as on Eclipsing Even Darkness. Where the demo-style production works for the band is when a solo breaks out; with the highs so sharply defined, the lead guitar, crammed in front of the mix is a razor-edged affair that stands out over the stolid, blocky rhythm chords. Frontman Alex Gorgos also does a decent job of snarling out the nearly unintelligible vocals, in an ursine growl that blends tightly with the riffing.

It must be admitted that there are a few too many plodding beats, though. The opener is a good sample of what has the band shining the most, a good alternation of inexorable rhythm with raging speed, and so is Unseen by the Sane (Darkness Ascends), but some of the others are a little too predictable. This is partially corrected by Under Eden's willingness to vary the slower pieces with clean instruments and break them up with more dramatic riffing than the ordinary blastbeat-driven fare that is the meat and potatoes on the sonic menu -- Catalyst for Massacre shows them especially good at that balancing act. Then, too, are the unconventional choices of guest vocals, done by fellow Minnesota metallers. On Ensnared in the Rapture, they bring in former Visions of Atlantis singer Melissa Ferlaak, and the next song has Dawn of Valor's Justin Howland. They're certainly a strange experience for anyone who's heard their vocals only in the context of their normal bands, but they make it work, partially because both guests only sing a line or two before being ushered offstage.

An Aeons-Long Shadow shows a solid performance by Under Eden, resulting in an album that makes for a decent listen without blowing listeners away. This isn't pure melodeath -- there's more traditional death metal in the album than a Gothenburg album would admit to -, but listeners to melodeath will probably like this more than would those who prefer mindblowing technical expertise or old-school brutality.

Killing Songs :
Aeon Alpha-Storming Primordial Shores, Catalyst for Massacre
Andy quoted 77 / 100
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