Another week, another batch of EP’s from bands ranging from the relatively unknown to the downright obscure to get through. That makes it sound like it’s a bit of a chore to listen to all of these hopeful young scallywags and their (sometimes) first forays into the realm of recording their first batch of songs, and it really isn’t because every now and then something lifts its collective head above the parapet and makes a dash for your attention, and this debut EP from UK extreme metallers Under Blackened Skies is one of those releases.
Setting the bar high from the off Under Blackened Skies attack their material like they’ve just been unleashed from captivity for the first time. Lead track ‘Bludgeon’ is a truly devastating slab of hardened black/death metal and will no doubt become the band’s calling card in the immediate future, setting the standard in the same way that Machine Head’s ‘Davidian’ or Obituary’s ‘Don’t Care’ did for their respective albums.
The melodic intro to ‘All Sense of Reason’ is a bit misleading as the track soon opens up into a more groove metal-based thrasher that rages on possibly a little too long, while the scathing ‘Burden of Truth’ is just as furious. The brutal title track closes things off in a similar fashion to the opening track, the main riff sounding like classic Paradise Lost sped-up and played over Deicide’s rhythm section. Frontman Manu Patel’s vocal chords also take a bit of punishment here, his dry death metal rasp suiting the schizoid instruments rampaging around him.
With slick production values that show the band are looking at the bigger picture, “Faceless Devastation” is certainly an eye-opening debut from a band that have made a bit of a name for themselves on the live circuit and if all goes well then there is definitely a lot more to be heard from Under Blackened Skies.