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Underking - Amongst the Dead Award winner

Amongst the Dead
by Neil Cook at 25 May 2020, 3:24 PM

This project from this duo is built on opposites.  Formed in 2019, after a previous band finished Maxwell and Dustin got together.  They are from Nottingham in England and Arizona, which isn’t. This isn’t where the opposites end though.  Listener beware the opening instrumental intro “Exordium” might lull you into thinking you know the direction we are going.  It is a guitar heavy restrained piece of music, an old school Metal intro.

They say opposites attract. Well as deftly illustrated by the next track “Nothing But Bone,” the opposites of a distinctly Metalcore screamer of a vocalist in Dustin the very Heavy Metal/old school Thrash, come together like two juggernauts going full tilt speeding at each other towards the inevitable collision.  However instead of there being a bloody wreck, the carnage produces a truly innovative blend of old and new.

For full disclosure I am not a fan of the average Metalcore band.  The music is usually limp and the singer trying too hard to sound gruff and edgy. But I have to say, this mutant Metal to the Core sound works for me. Songs that stand out for me are “Deadman,” a real bay area Thrash feel, to the music, AND the vocals are definitely not out of place on this one. “Lowly Dog” chuggs along on a drum sound, I struggle to believe isn’t a real drummer.  The punchy delivery of the vocals gives the song some real aggression, and the guitars are simply some of the best soloing I’ve heard recently.  This one really illustrates the symbiotic relationship between the old and the new, it is up there as best song on the album.

However the title of best track has a strong contender with “Lost Souls”.   The menace of the almost spoken vocals had the hairs on the back of the neck standing up, and worked so well with the gruff growls elsewhere.  The distinctly horror metal vibe of the music, is decidedly old school. As is “Grave Digger”, a real slow build of a doom laden song, with a real doomy Death Metal feel.  The two distinct vocals work together amazing well.  The beautifully sung voice, which in itself gives the track a real foreboding, and when the Metalcore delivery rages over the top of everything, takes the song in a different direction, bringing in a full on death growl and a better closer to this incredibly strong collection of songs you couldn’t hope for.

I was fully prepared to not like this album, purely because of the vocal.  But I plead with you stick with it, it is an astounding different beast, and simply not something I was expecting to enjoy so much.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Exordium
2. Nothing but Bone
3. Deadman (Feat Rainless)
4. The Way of Man
5. Lowly Dog
6. Lost Souls (Feat Rainless)
7. Grave Digger
Dustin Burmeister - Vocals
Maxwell Jeffries - Guitar
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 31 January 2023

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