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United - Absurdity Award winner

by James Brizuela at 26 November 2019, 12:03 PM

UNITED has had a storied career, having formed in 1981 as a JUDAS PRIEST cover band, they went on to begin writing their own material in 1983. After a myriad of releases and having celebrated their 30-year anniversary in 2011, UNITED comes forth with a re-release of their latest full-length album, “Absurdity”. I feel ashamed of my thrash metal prowess having never heard of UNITED until this point in my life. “Absurdity” is an absolute ripper of an album.  You can’t get better thrash than this. But what they do better than most thrash bands are the incorporation of the brutal death metal vocals. You have the prototypical thrash rough vocals, but then you are met with a wall of pure brutal death metal growls. “Settle My War” showcases some of this absolute raw energy, chanting vocals, and death metal brutality in one. The raucous energy of their brutal thrash sound rips apart your senses, as you’re met with a wall on unrelenting thrash violence. “Arise” being the track that perfectly resembles this thrash beating. The track kicks off with pure speed while not letting up at all. There is a very grungy and raw bass line that leads into an incredible guitar solo, with the unrelenting drum attack providing the backing beat. The musicianship of these gentlemen is through the roof. With the galloping drums, fast guitar riffing, and rough powerful vocals, there is no way you cannot bang your head to this entire album.

What is so impressive is switch being made from pure speed and crazy thrash to this beautifully done guitar work, like in “Trapped Fake World”. It’s not often you have a band go completely off on a half song worth of guitar solo work, but UNITED nails that. The track is half vocals and half just impressive guitar soloing. It is not misplaced or unbalanced, it just works. Even when they seem to slow things down a bit, the punishing power of their music remains. “Dead by Dawn” is that perfect example. It is a slower tempo for majority of the track before heading back into the pure adrenaline thrash attack. There is a nice touch of clean vocals that come in to showcase the more in-depth sound that UNITED possess. What’s interesting is having these fast and unrelenting quick thrash songs, but then the tempo changes in a multitude of ways to showcase UNITED’s pure musical prowess. I love when a band can throw in a more cultural song, or rather, their experimentation with boundaries for a given genre. “May (feat. ANZA from HEAD PHONES PRESIDENT)” is a beautiful female vocal led song. It does not fit in with the whole album, but it still works on so many levels. It is a truly captivating turn away from the completely brutal thrash beating the album gives off until this point.

UNITED have gone through an entire career to get to this point. They lost their band leader YOKO in 2014, and questioned their future as a band, but the re-release of “Absurdity” is their proof to soldier on. I am quite happy they have chosen to soldier on as UNITED, because this album is an incredibly well put together brutal thrash attack. It is pure adrenaline from start to finish, with a few surprises along the way. Put this album in immediately!

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Absurdity
2. Settle My War
3. Arise
4. Trapped Fake World
5. Dead by Dawn
6. Don’t Ever Let Me Down
7. May
8. Alive
9. Empty Eyes
10. Fabricated the Justice
Yoshifumi Yoshida – Guitars
Shingo Otani – Guitars
Masatoshi Yuasa – Vocals
Akira Tominaga – Drums
George Enda – Bass
Record Label: Reaper Music Entertainment


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