Unreal Overflows – Latent (2018) REVIEW

My original interest in Unreal Overflows was based around the misconception that the band had more or less been founded as the spiritual successor to Absorbed, a Spanish death metal band with an identical ethos and a demo named ‘Unreal Overflows’. Though the earliest incarnation of Unreal Overflows actually featured a former guitarist, the main force behind Absorbed eventually became Dismal. You might understand my confusion when hearing Absorbed‘s unreleased 1996 album ‘Reverie’ which didn’t see release until recently. The core set of influence is readily apparent in both bands as their modus operandi is classic 90’s progressive/technical death metal.

But to stamp their foreheads with ‘old school prog-tech USDM’ and not acknowledge their elevation of the craft would be a shit thing to do. ‘Latent’ works itself up towards heavy nods to Death‘s ‘Individual Thought Patterns’ and Cynic‘s ‘Focus’ after exploring hooky melodic death metal riffing and the transition between these elements is flawlessly handled. Vocalist/bassist/guitarist Zoilo Loira has a vocal tone somewhere in between the blackened rasp of Swedish melodic death metal’s heyday and Chuck Schuldiner‘s distinct hiss on ‘Symbolic’. His guitar work alongside Diego Bea is an exceptional extension and tribute of their idols great works the uses intelligent restraint I haven’t heard on an album like this for a long while. ‘Latent’ works outside the box rather focusing than the alternate picking of Masvidal and the wildly fluid runs of Schuldiner, whereas most comparable bands focus so heavily on one or the other and lose sight of songwriting. I feel that their nods to djent and melodic death elevate ‘Latent’ more with each listen.

For years I’d listened to bands like Obscura and Textures and couldn’t help but thing they’d erred on the side of brutality or ‘core’ too far beyond the tasteful edge of their influences and hearing Unreal Overflows‘ take on the style inspired me to dig back into their discography a bit. Listening to their 2012 album ‘False Warfare’ reinforced my thoughts as even when they were more focused on brutality and intensity they weren’t peddling in obvious nods and hyper-brutality. I’d also noticed some of the heavy, skittering early Gojira-core influence of that album isn’t largely found on the more thoughtfully inclined reverence of ‘Latent’.

Of all of the tracks here my favorite moments often centered around the unexpected. “Human Obscenity State” starts with a fiery riff reminiscent of ‘Lateralus’-era Tool and wrestles itself into a refrain of modern day Cynic-isms. “The Project” and it’s tightly wound basslines and precise drumming reminded me of a heavier ‘Elements’ era Atheist. My favorite song here is easily “Reversal” where Unreal Overflows sound the most confidently like themselves and their melodic guitar work was perfectly on point. Highly recommended for fans of progressive/technical death metal in general, and anyone who was as seriously let down by that last Contrarian album as I was, but specifically moreso to folks who love the golden era of Atheist, Death, Cynic, and the like.

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Artist Unreal Overflows
Type Album
Released February 10, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp! Follow Unreal Overflows on Facebook
Genres

Creators of the end. 3.75/5.0

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