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Hunted - Deliver Us

Hunted
Deliver Us
by Jesse Lacharite at 08 November 2021, 5:17 PM

Next on tap we have the UK's Progressive Speed Metal masters HUNTED and their newest “Deliver Us”. It's a heady mixture of intricate guitars, technical drumming, and soaring vocals.  There is a lot to unpack with this one so let's get to dissecting.

As you might have noticed I like to start off all my reviews with a critique of the albums production. “Deliver Us” is neither stellar nor is it unappealing. There are some problems here that need to be discussed. First off, bass and rhythm guitars. Effectively there is no bass, and the rhythms suffer from a fizziness in the upper range that suck most of the power out of the mix.  With two of the most important instruments down it's further insult to injury when you notice the drums sound pretty manufactured. I can't tell if it's samples over real skins or if it's a digital kit, but either way, not great. With a progressive release like this, the production has to be tight and powerful. HUNTED miss the mark here and that's too bad. Let's dive into the music.

The first cut of the album is “Velvet Worm”. Staccato guitars stab away like a drunken surgeon. Drums thunder in background as Chris G.'s vocals take center stage. There are obvious nods to Geoff Tate, Mike Vescera and of course King Diamond as far as the delivery is concerned. The man can hit some pretty dizzying heights and the melodies themselves are pretty killer too.

Salvation on a String” and “For the Blind” explode into another display of complex riffing with peaks and valleys of dynamism propelling the music forward. The never-ending stream of riffage is quite impressive but also a detraction. You never really get a moment to savor the more memorable ones as they all fly by you at breakneck speed.

Burning Ones,” “The Black Shore,” and “The Lie” are all great examples of what the band do right. Towering compositions, exploring the deepest regions of negativity. Poly-rhythms cascade with abandon everywhere, wailing vocals teeter between angelic howls and unholy gutter cants, all sandwiched between flesh churning beats and blasts.

Misled” is probably my favorite track on the album. The intro is more of an exercise in chordal groove as opposed to the onslaught of individual and arpeggiated notes. The early parts of the song are less frenetic than most of the output, and it helps break up the sameness of the album in doing so.

Our Final Embrace” is an interesting selection for the album as it is a ballad, I wasn't expecting that considering the rest of the release is pretty much pedal to the metal, but the change of pace was once again appreciated. The album closes with “Maldito Sea Tu Nombre” another progressive monument and a fine cut to end the “Deliver Us” experience.

Let's get to the meat of things. HUNTED are clearly a band with some talent, but they haven't completely meshed together to create something truly unique. “Deliver Us” has plenty of killer moments, but they fly by so quickly there is barely any time to savor them outright.  The band needed to cut down on some of the riff salad and concentrate more on creating melodic passages that would highlight the incredible vocals, which brings me to my last point.

I can truly appreciate what Chris G. is trying to do, and for the most part he succeeds, but more discretion is needed to really pull it off. He spends a little too much time in the stratosphere instead of concentrating on just making an amazing vocal melody. He's got the pipes for sure but hasn't learned when and where to put them to best use. “Deliver Us” is a solid release that suffers from average production value as well as unnecessarily complex and meandering compositions. Take the 200 ideas you had, pare them down to the best 50 and work out from there. For fans of Progressive Speed Metal and straight up Modern Metal.

Songwriting:  7
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  7
Production:  7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Velvet Worm
2. Salvation on a String
3. For the Blind
4. Burning Ones
5. The Black Shore
6. The Lie
7. One More Time
8. Misled
9. Time Will Tell
10. Our Final Embrace
11. Maldito Sea Tu Nombre (Bonus Track)
Lineup:
Chris G. – Vocals
Jon Letson – Bass
Matthew “Animal” Thomas – Drums
Steve Barberini – Guitars
Record Label: Pitch Black Records
     


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