UNBOUNDED TERROR – Echoes Of Despair
RELEASE YEAR: 2022
This review is the 2nd in the 5 album expose on the work of Palma de Mallorca Spanish vocalist, guitarist and bassist Vicente Javier Payá Galindo, the creator of 5 metal bands: Golgotha, Unbounded Terror, Decrapted, Bis.nte and Sons Of Cult – all currently on David Sánchez “Dave Rotten” González’s Xtreem Records or its sundivision Fighter Records. Every review in the series will concern each of those bands’ latest album in the above order.
The last release from this Spanish old school death metal quartet was the last year’s compilation “Infernal Judgement” which I reviewed here (4.5/6). The album was good but I really dug the titular new song for its melodiscism and catchy riffing recalling Hypocrisy, Paradise Lost and Immolation which really whetted my appetite for a full length of like creations. “Echoes Of Despair” (named after Immolation’s track?) did not disappoint, serving some of the most classic old school death metal, a very good mix of brutality and just the right amount of doom and melody (in most tracks) to keep the listener engaged throughout the 11 cuts and over 41 minutes of music.
The ensemble wasn’t always called Unbounded Terror, having started as Putrefact Monstruosity in 1990 by Vicente Javier Payá Galindo (guitars bass), Antonio Pereida (vocals, guitars), José Rosa (bass) and Esteban (drums) before morphing into Unbounded Terror (a purposeful grammatical error to allow for the “unbound dead terror” pronunciation?) which yielded “Sarcastic Souls”¹⁹⁹¹ demo and “Nest Of Affliction”¹⁹⁹² full length only to cease fire in 1993. Guitarist Vicente Payá reformed the band in 2019 grabbing Juan Mateu (Golgotha live) for the 2nd guitar, Jaume Porta behind the drum kit and later fellow Golgotha bassist, Andrew Spinosa, who also took over the vocal duties and that line up recorded the come back 2nd album “Faith In Chaos”²⁰²⁰ as well as the aforementioned last year’s “Infernal Judgement” compilation.
If “Echoes Of Despair” is any indication, Unbounded Terror is in the best shape of their existence. Tracks such the phenomenal favorite near progressive “Devil’s Church” (strongly recalling the recent Blood Red Throne), the opening “Organic Waste” and “Hungry For Your Hate” (with a technical riff melody straight from Robert Vigna’s playbook) are perfect death metal anthems, courtesy of a perfect Payá/Mateu guitar sync, which give even recent Immolation and Obituary a run for their money (all of the above roughly the same age!) while “Rotting Myself” and “Liar’s Punisher” harken back to Hypocrisy’s “The Fourth Dimension” days in terms of melody, sound and heaviness while the excellent and varied “Hypocrite Ignored” and the sludgy “Desolation Inside Of Me” reek of the early 90s Paradise Lost with fantastic solos worthy of Greg Macintosh while “Falling Into the Void” (with that catchy technical riff a’la Blood Red Throne in verse preceding the Armageddon of blastbeats courtesy of the killer Spinosa/Porta section) combines the old school and almost melodeath into one. Andrew Spinosa’s highly legible “growly talking” recalls Paradise Lost’s Nick Holmes or Greg Macintosh, precise, just right in the mix, always aware of the surroundings, slow, deliberate and mournful in the more doomy melodic parts one moment and fast, vicious and hangry at another, perfectly complimenting the music or, more likely his own bass which drives it. Precision, tradition without antiquity and general catchy and melodic nature of the material are at play here, and, most importantly, neither the brutality nor the melody drown each other out at any point, with the excellent production emphasizing that point. I also love how already the 2nd track, “Rotting Myself” slows down a little for variety, is followed by a fast title track and then “Liar’s Punisher” and “Hypocrite Ignored” are both fast very melodic cuts leading into the second half, which strongly reminds me of Hypocrisy’s “The Final Chapter” arrangment.
While the album is varied without and among the tracks and no track even close to a filler the title track with its “meat and potatoes” death metal just isn’t up to par with the rest (especially since it’s missing that melodiscism of the successors) while (and this is my pet pieve so don’t take it personally) the minute horror soundtrack interlude should, at worst, be an intro to “Falling Into the Void” instead of its own track, and better yet, an actual song like “Hypocrite Ignored”. Finally, the perfect “Desolation In Me” is followed by a very similarly chorused “Falling Into The Void”, never a good thing on a death metal record. Other than that, not much more that could be improved.
“Echoes Of Despair” is a very good album from a veteran death metal act, perhaps their best album to date with all four gentlemen of Unbounded Terror at the top of their game, my gripes notwithstanding. Frankly, I don’t think one can get any more classic death metal than Unbounded Terror without the risk of lampooning the genre. Vicente Payá is as fantastic as in Golgotha (while one sounding nothing like the other!) so “Echoes Of Despair” joins “Mors Diligentis” on my permanent hard drive. If you like old Obituary (first 3 albums) cooked on Death’s “Leprosy/Spiritual Healing” and even latter Death, doused with liberal amount of Paradise Lost classic Hypocrisy melodiscism sustained by Immolation technicality and Blood Red Throne almost progressive experimentation of late (Devil’s Church) while consistently engaging, this album is for you.