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Unpure (1995)

Unpure is a black metal band from Sweden that is not very well-known, compared to many of their peers. Sometimes, really good bands fall through the cracks while lesser ones get all of the praise. That is not the case, here. I heard a song of theirs, a few years after this was released, and it was probably the best one on the album. Thinking the entire thing was of the same quality, I looked for it, for quite some time. However, once I acquired it, I was hit with disappointment. By 1995, a lot of uninspired bands had come along to clutter up the scene, and Unpure's self-titled debut lumps them in with that group.

The production is awful. The drums are far too high in the mix and much too clear. They are often distracting. The guitar tone is too warm and non-threatening. There is no raw, sharp edge to the guitars. The bass is also too loud. With a more appropriate sound, this might have been salvaged, though the songwriting is also quite poor.

The compositions are very mediocre and boring. The majority of the songs are inconsistent and almost tedious to listen to. This music is almost entirely incapable of creating any sort of atmosphere. The songwriting shifts from black metal to rock, and the presence of harsh vocals does not change that fact. There are brief flashes of something interesting, which likely only seem good by comparison to the wretched ideas that surround them. The thick production and the abundance of chunky riffs makes it seem as if these guys listened more to Pantera than to Bathory or Darkthrone. There is a clear Celtic Frost influence, but these guys do such a poor job that they cannot even match the darkness of Cold Lake. The mid-paced parts almost possess a Doom feeling, from time to time, but mostly fail to give any feeling other than pure boredom.

Unpure's debut album is very mediocre and inconsistent. It definitely does not belong to black metal, being more of a heavy metal album with some black metal influences. That would be fine, if only the songwriting was not so weak. There is no feeling to this, no purpose. The fast parts feel forced and the slow parts are beyond dull. It is not dark or evil or sombre or aggressive. It's just there. So my advice is to leave it right there, in the ninety-nine cent bin, where it belongs.
(15 Mar. 2014)

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