The phrase “balls to the wall” comes to mind when listening to this album. It is relentless, it is epic, it is unearthly…it is death metal in every way, shape and form. That being said, It’s Time… To Rise From The Grave, the sophomore album by New York-based band Undeath, is not for everybody. In fact, it’s not for most bodies. One could even go as far as saying it’s not even for living bodies. Okay, maybe not that far, but it’s certainly reserved for those with a certain set of tastes.
With song titles such as “Necrobionics,” “Funeral Within” and “Trampled Headstones,” this album incorporates all the elements of death metal, making it pointedly on-brand with no deviation. Think along the lines of Carcass or Cannibal Corpse. Undeath does have an original sound, it’s not a repeat of death metal’s past. However, their brand package is relatively the same from track to track. The deep, guttural vocals from Alexander Jones are great, but do not differ between songs. All the tracks fall within the same pitch range and the sounds produced from the guitar, while sensational, are the same throughout the album. The dead must have had enough time to sleep as this album is all high tempo, there’s no time for ballads when one is in the process of rising from the grave.
It’s interesting the title of the album beings with “It’s Time…” as the album certainly experiments with varying tempo shifts and different feels of time manipulation. “Enhancing the Dead” starts out with a great chug that’s easy to get into, making it a standout on the album. That chug is quickly interrupted by an almost surf rock transition that runs the track to a brief pitstop in thrasherville. The song frequently moves between a triple meter and a duple meter and then on to half time. It’s reminiscent of the Tears For Fears “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” metric modulation drum set fad that happened a few years back. It’s actually kind of impressive to listen to.
The quick but incessant track “Bone Wrought” also displays this album’s dalliance with time manipulation. The track begins with some speed metal but elongates at about 1:37 into the song, making it feel longer than its 2:29 run time.
Undeath also uses their lyrics rhythmically. Beginning with a quick, dirty ditty from bassist Tommy Wall on the opening track “Fiend for Corpses,” the lyrics are delivered in couplet sequences giving it a chant-like feel. The lyrics “I eat. Their meat. Fiend for corpses,” puts the aura of the album on full display within the first 20 seconds of play.
Hardcore death metal fans will find several sub-genre easter eggs incorporated throughout this album, but the untrained ear may skip it in favor of something less nuanced. The musicianship and mastery are undoubtedly apparently, but It’s Time… To Rise From The Grave is not for everyone. If grossly exaggerating the perceived harrows of death doesn’t sound like an idea of a good time…be careful with this one.