World Under Blood – Tactical (2011)

Posted: July 26, 2011 in Music

The en vogue assembly in music these days seems to be the supergroup. Members of bands from all over the landscape of metal have recently been seen jumping ship from their normal bands for side projects with other fellow jumpers. We’ve covered a handful of them here (The Gracious Few, The Damned Things, Times of Grace), but maybe none more interesting than World Under Blood.

The lineup features Deron Miller (vocalist/guitarist from CKY), Rish Eryavac (former bassist of Decrepit Birth), Luke Jaeger (from Sleep Terror) and the legendary Tim Yeung (All That Remains, Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel, Divine Heresy, et al) on drums. If you don’t know who any of these guys are, you are not only reading the wrong article, you are probably on the wrong website as well.

The group is labeled as “melodic death metal,” but I’m not sure if that’s the best description. I listen to a lot of melodic death metal, and none of it sounds quite like this. Sure it’s death metal, but it’s dusted with metalcore and thrash elements that heighten the “extreme” element while kicking the door in on the “melodic” aspect of it all. The band’s first album Tactical is now available, and let’s just say it is definitely Nutwork-worthy.

There are a lot of different things going on here, so let’s start picking it apart piece by piece. First of all, we have two different vocal stylings throughout with Miller snarling harsh growls for most of it, but layering plenty of clean vocals here and there. The growls are deep, but very understandable – and the clean parts are melodic and complimentary, without sounding emo or overly airy. It’s a well balanced combination that sounds heavy, but, after multiple listens, offers a bit of a lighter take on the death metal norm.

Miller also lends a hand in the guitar tracking, partnered with Jaeger, and the pair provide more than this album could hope for. When not providing the structure for the tracks, they take turns spearheading intricate, technical solos and fills that showcase both their skill and their ability to share the spotlight.

Surprisingly, there is very little bass featured here. You can hear it – if you listen real close – but it seems the talents of Eryavac were mixed down to near inaudible levels most of the album. When you do hear it, it’s relatively mundane with simple rhythm and mild velocity. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, considering the frenetic pace and energy of this album, but I have a sneaking suspicion as to why…

You really don’t need a ton of bass when you have such a heavy assault on the drums. Tim Yeung is well known in metal circles for his talent, precision and sonic speed on the kit. Like your drumming at 250 beats per minute? Yeung can do that blindfolded. Drumming since the age of 11, Yeung has had plenty of time to master his craft, and it is on full, gloves-off display here. After hearing this album, I may have to re-think my “best metal drummer” rankings – as Yeung belongs far closer to the top than I gave him credit for.

When you put these elements together, you get the kind of sonic orgasm that comes around very rarely. It’s by no means a “new” sound – but the combination of genre, skill, and proficiency provides something as close to new as you can get without crossing over to the dark world of non-metal.

This is the second album we’ve reviewed in the last week or so that clocks in under 30 minutes (not including the “bonus track” covers), but just like 311’s Universal Pulse – I’ll take quality over quantity any day. What makes it a little strange this time around, though, is that Yeung and Miller have been working the idea of World Under Blood since 2005. For those not good with math, that’s 7 years – and to only get an eight song album after all that time seems a little off.

Nonetheless, the songs provided here are solid up and down the tracklisting. Some weigh a bit more than others – A God Among The Waste, Into The Arms of Cruelty, Purgatory Dormitory, and I Can’t Stand His Name are the most accessible brutality you’ll find in metal today. A few of the other tracks – Pyro-Compulsive, Dead and Still In Pain, and Under The Autumn Low – are not unlike a Twinkie rolled through broken glass. On the outside it’s hard and sharp, but deep down it’s still soft, light and familiar. And worth every bloodied bite.

Even the “cover/bonus” tracks are solid here, with World Under Blood laying waste to Megadeth’s classic “Wake Up Dead” as well as Malevolent Creation’s “Alliance of War.”

But if this album has one exemplary, album-defining moment, it comes with Revere’s Tears. The track opens with a near-acoustic setting of guitars and bass (the one time you really hear it), then cuts to the chase with a massive burst of double bass pedal, pinch harmonic glory. The lyrics are a bit puzzling, but that makes it worth repeated listens – and if lyrics aren’t you’re concern, the guitar solo will have you hitting the rewind button over and over as well.

It will be interesting to see how the metal community reacts to this album. It has all the necessary components to attract the death metal die-hards, and peppers enough metalcore to attract the kids – and their really aren’t very many albums that can please both audiences without one calling the other out. This, however, may be the exception to the rule – and with a little push from the label (who are a little busy hanging on the collective sacks of All Shall Perish at the moment), this album might just set a new standard along the way. As far as the Nutwork is concerned, it already has…

8/10

Tracklist:
01. A God Among the Waste
02. Into the Arms of Cruelty
03. Pyro-compulsive
04. Dead and Still In Pain
05. Purgatory Dormitory
06. Under the Autumn Low
07. I Can’t Stand His Name
08. Revere’s Tears
09. Wake Up Dead (Megadeth Cover)
10. Alliance or War (Malevolent Creation Cover)

http://www.amazon.com/Tactical-World-Under-Blood/dp/B0055V0HO8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311740455&sr=8-1

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