Undersave – Sadistic Iterations​.​.​.​Tales of Mental Rearrangement (2018) REVIEW

From their inception Portuguese death metal band Undersave represented a cult of death metal built upon brutal foundations. The overwhelming nature of Nuno Braz and  João Miguel‘s guitar compositions were equally rooted in ‘Formulas Fatal to the Flesh’ and early 00’s era of brutality. By the time their ‘After The Domestication Comes The Manipulation’ EP released their brutal attack had been refined to a highest standard. The project has more or less been solely in Braz‘ hands for the two full-lengths since, with line-up changes hardly affecting the progression of his writing. His focus has leaned towards glorious old school influences since ‘Now​.​.​.​Submit Your Flesh To The Master’s Imagination’ with the harder edges of Undersave‘s oppressive brutality falling off in favor of technical and increasingly dynamic composition.

This trend towards flow and movement is even more evident on ‘Sadistic Iterations​.​.​.​Tales of Mental Rearrangement’ an album that takes a stab at The Chasm and Totten Korps at once with twisted riffing and unbridled pacing throughout. I’d initially felt like the guitar work was fairly all over the place invoking everything from Obliteration and Diskord to Adramelech but there was no fully appropriate ‘old school’ answer. Though Undersave incorporate old school and new school elements few resemblances are complete enough to nail down the approach. The experience is somewhere between ‘Farseeing the Paranormal Abysm’ and ‘Supreme Commanders of Darkness’.

The concept of a mental rearrangement is all the more fitting on an album that creates and continues to demand focus throughout. It is tough to describe the feeling of an Undersave release as part of their allure is the hyper-focused ‘stream of consciousness’ riffing often found in technical death metal but the drum patterns dive in and out of brutality and convention. This creates an experience that pools and descends like a series of tributaries connected by smaller streams. As each track collects it’s central themes and patternation it builds to a release and the next song feeds off of that momentum. The transitions between riffs, and each individual song, gives little reason to stray from the momentum created and it is hard to step away from a complete listen. The more obvious fault of these interconnections is an album that is an all-or-none event and sometimes a blur of fiddling as a result.

Differentiation and reprieve is the greatest hole in technical death metal’s pockets and though this leans towards a ‘progressive’ rhythmic experience it carries with it that same issue. The fault of sameness isn’t offensive, though, and the overall flow and performances of ‘Sadistic Iterations​.​.​.​Tales of Mental Rearrangement’ keep it listenable throughout. The vocals are largely guttural growls but occasionally offer small shrieks of black metal-like insanity here and there and this goes a long way towards breaking up the relative monotony of the vocal arrangements otherwise. I was so focused on the interplay between the guitars and the drumming that bass/vocals really blurred out of focus for much of the time I spent with the album. I think Undersave‘s second album is special enough to be an important listen for death metal fans in 2018. It’s use of non-traditional structures, momentum building arrangements, and exceptional guitar work made it well worth my time. Recommended if you’re a fan of later The Chasm, Totten Korps, Cadaver, and the ilk.


Artist Undersave
Type Album
Released March 25, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Chaos Records Bandcamp! Follow Undersave on Facebook

Enslaved by internal voices. 3.5/5.0

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