» Blog Archive Superstition Spin the Death Metal Wheel Ever Faster -
Evan Conway Hard Music, News, Reviews

Death metal is a hard act to sell and I cannot for the life of me pin down what it is that makes the genre such of a wide spectrum of quality. You’d think tremolo picking, growls, wails, blast beats, and gore-centric lyrics would do it, right? Alongside thrash and black metal, there’s probably the most disposable amount of music being thrown into the genre. Boring riffs, derivative writing, and the robotic drumming of some of these musicians drown what might be diamonds in the rough in a sea of mediocrity. That’s why 20 Buck Spin is probably one of the best labels around today: they do the hard mining and find those diamond to make sure they get their time to shine.

Superstition is a hell of a band. In a time where death metal is spewing some great bands like Gatecreeper and Blood Incantation, Superstition size up to the modern standard that touring bands are setting up and meeting them there on a debut album nevertheless. The Anatomy of Unholy Transformation is everything you want in death metal with tight songwriting, good musicianship, and a mostly clean production that never sacrifices the band’s devious sound for quality.

Right out the gate, it’s worth mentioning the production on Superstition’s debut, as it’s a mixed bag. Everything sits nicely in the mix, but Unholy Transformation is in large part a good sounding album. A very organic drum sound keeps this album from becoming an over-processed presence on every song, and it’s among my favorite aspects of the album as drummer D.M. plays well and cleanly enough that I can imagine him playing right in front of me. It’s the guitars that – at first – can be jarring. While I did warm up to the guitar tones on the album, I do find that the album has a lack of low end aside from the drums. The bass can be hard to find at times (“Spiritual Sunderance” makes good use of it throughout) so unfortunately the guitars are lacking those frequencies as well. It is no way detrimental to Superstition’s sound or the album as a whole, but it was worth noting as it did catch me off guard at first.

Other than that, though? Unholy Transformation is a hell of a time. The playing on display is fun and engaging and each song is different and unique unto itself. Sueprstition kept this really simple: nine tracks, 34 minutes, and no down time. The transitional tracks, “Unholy Transformation I-III” don’t slow the momentum and only keep the ominous vibe of the music going. I get some tasteful King Diamond vibes on these brief moments, like a retro horror movie, and then before I know it the band are doing their thing again. “Passage of Nullification” is a goddamn ripper of a track and one of my favorite songs of the year. This is pure, well-crafted death metal. No frills, nothing colorful about it. And that’s totally fine.

I’d rather take a band like Superstition than a band trying to merge genres or fail to recreate a dead trend in metal. Unholy Transformation is a tight album and some of the most enjoyable death metal you can find today. All killer, no filler.

The Anatomy of Unholy Transformation is available on 20 Buck Spin right now. You can stream “Highly Attuned Beasts of the Dark” below.

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