Have you ever put on a record for the first time and were astonished by how good the band is and how well they play together? OK, that’s probably a stupid question. We’re all here because we love metal and, as a result, have had tons of experiences with music that blew us away because of just how mighty the band is.
What I mean is, sometimes you encounter a band you don’t know much about or that is new, and while you might have some expectations for how the music might sound, what you walk away with is the impression of just how explosive the band is and how well they do their thing. I had that happen with Unmothered, the new Austin-based trio that just released their debut, self-titled EP on Toxic Assets. Over the course of seven tracks and about 30 minutes, these guys not only got me excited about their noisy, doomy, fiery brand of metal, but they also blew me away by just how well they translated their chaos. They have an explosiveness about them and a way of playing where you anticipate the peaks and valleys, and even though you’re right about the path, you don’t expect just how hard they hit you and how forcefully they drag you. “Hitting on all cylinders” is such a cliché, but that’s exactly what Unmothered do. Again and again.
The band formed when guitarist/vocalist Matt Walker left Lions of Tsavo and formed Unmothered with drummer Daniel Curry. Their union would not last, however, and Walker eventually teamed up with bassist Joe Barnes and drummer Matt Moulis (formerly of The Hidden Hand) to put together this bulldozer of a unit. They got their strange moniker during one of Walker’s friend’s trip to Mexico City, when a cab driver described the area as “desmadre,” or “unmothered” because the people had been left to fend for themselves with no one to help them. Their sound is hard to pin down, as it has parts of doom, thrash, sludge, and noise rock, and put together, the guys stumbled upon magic that they dubbed “haunt rock.” Whatever they call it, it works, and this EP should be one hell of a base for what could be a promising run making metal that caves chests and levels buildings.
The record blows open with “Gravitons,” a doom-laden yet atmospheric song that soars nicely but also weighs, yes, a ton. Walker’s growls sound like they were defaced by razors, while the band hits a killer groove that could have you punching the air or the face of someone who really has it coming. There’s a nice off-centered melody that slips in toward the end, and the whole thing is then sucked into space. “The Awakening” kicks into a strong Southern-style swagger, and that attitude is amplified by a choice Johnny Ringo clip from “Tombstone” and some furious growling. “Solstice” has an unforgivingly heavy opening, with drumming that sounds like it’s trying to break through the floor and sludgy guitars that aim to clog your throat. As the song goes on it just gets better, and eventually they explore their proggier side before they bring the fucking hammer down at the end.
“Dark Energy” opens with a frenetic pace, monstrous growls, and a wave of complete devastation. There are hints of really early Mastodon and current Black Tusk with some of the muddy chugging, and the guys display some exemplary teamwork as the song reaches its conclusion. This is just one of the many examples of how tight this band is and how well that play together. It’s just a blistering cut. “Leviathan” is stabbing and weird, the true oddball of the collection, and it’s so explosive that before you know it, the song’s over and you’re surrounded by rubble. “Spectre” has a fiery opening, with the drums nearing blast beat territory, and the guitars go from smoldering to dreamy, as a post-rock gaze is spread across the song, and the melody even gets a little poppy. It’s a fun cut. Closer “Trancendor” is thrashy and mangling, with some slide guitar there to give the song some added texture, and before the cut ends, the temperature in the furnace is ramped up to high, and a psychedelic wash splashes over everything to give you some relief from your eyebrows burning away. Nice of them.
Unmothered is one of the more promising new bands that have emerged this year, and I’m pretty psyched to hear what these guys do with a full-length assault. This is a tight band that crushes you with precision and has chops to devastate worlds. Go find out about this band right now. They deserve your time, and you’ll be rewarded repeatedly with their metallic fury.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Unmothered/137609829617081?fref=ts
To buy the album, go here: http://toxicassets.bigcartel.com/product/unmothered
For more on the label, go here: http://www.toxicassets.com/