Artist: A Trust Unclean
Album: Parturition – EP
Ah, the miracle of childbirth.
In a round-about way, it’s a truly beautiful thing. Maybe not the physiological sequence of events that truly define the nine months of near-Hell that climaxes in 2-30+ hours of blood, sweat, screaming and contractions in the agonizing-yet-awe-inspiring event we call labor and birth—or, more fitting to this review, Parturition. The latest EP (or “mini-album” given its impressive nearly-thirty-minute runtime) by the Oxfordshire onslaught A Trust Unclean combines skin-flaying and furious technical death metal with deathcore and theatrical, elegant touches that make it simultaneously polished and punishing—in a twisted fashion, not dissimilar to the actual event termed parturition. A Trust Unclean use everything from brute force slams to spectacular speed and skull-splitting breakdowns to oppress the listener beneath ten tons of terrifying heaviness, such that if Parturition was indeed the tale of childbirth, whatever spawn that would spring forth from betwixt this album’s legs would rival Satan’s own spawn for the magnitude of its evil and eviscerating nature.
Spanning dangerously close to half an hour of atmospherically tinted, riff-driven and ruthless deathcore with splashes of technicality and blackening, A Trust Unclean crush the listener without second thought. Parturition begins subtly, but by “Dominion Over Bone” breaks loose, with it comes all manners of Hellfire and hatred. Percussionist Noah Plant is a hellion behind his kit, hammering away with precision and power that channels the likes of The Black Dahlia Murder where speed is concerned, yet Oceano’s penchant for ominous, foreboding brutality. “Apex” is bouncy and bold—with Plant working excellently alongside bassist Bobby Hembrow—while “Exonerate” is energetic and speedy, just as “To Encompass and Eclipse” channels the band’s theatrical and metallic elements. Even when Plant is less bouncy and more punchy, Hembrow is by his side nonetheless. Where “Apex” sees Hembrow’s bass serving a more prominent role, his contributions throughout others is much more integral, adding a low, earthy rumbling to the incredible and immense fretwork of guitarists Steven Hunt and Mikey Gee. Hunt and Gee are, in a word, breathtaking. With grooves and breakdowns that snap bone and melt flesh, yet leads and riffs throughout “Repurposed” or “Apex” that combine the band’s love for sprawling symphonic elements for headstrong and aggressive death metal. Hunt and Gee’s work is what truly brings Parturition to a higher echelon of quality and brutality than their peers—especially when combined with the band’s nearly peerless vocal element.
With such intense technicality (“Repurposed” sounding almost Ion Dissonance-esque towards the end), it would be a shame for a half-assed vocal element to bring A Trust Unclean’s enormous Basick Records debut down. Fortunately, with frontman Kyle Lamb at the helm, no such fate befalls the band. Lamb’s vocal brilliance nears the likes of Osiah’s Ricky Lee Roper or former Nexilva frontman Gaz King—and for those familiar with those inexorable talents, there is little higher praise I can give. Songs like “Aetherius” highlight Lamb’s range, while “Aeon” or “Apex” are testaments to his technical skill. All the while, “Dominion Over Bone” is a well-rounded and ruthless display of excellence—wherein Lamb exerts the sum of his surreal skills. Perhaps the best way to summarize Lamb’s talent is this: by the time Parturition comes to a close, the listener will feel compelled to listen it all over again if only because they simply cannot get enough of Lamb’s range, energy and candor.
Parturition might not be as sparkly and beautiful as our romanticized notion of birth and life, but it carries all the grisly, painful intensity of childbirth as we know it—that is true without a doubt. Excellently produced, well-rounded between speed, aggression, technicality and brutality all, A Trust Unclean further build their skills from their previous release—developing their sound alongside their dominion over the underground heavy music scene.
For Fans Of: Shadow of Intent, Oceano, Nexilva, The Black Dahlia Murder, Osiah
By: Connor Welsh