Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ummon - Retreat

I don't know if in France they have McDonald's with the ball pits and play areas but it's like tossing your newborn into the circus colored plastic balls and then realizing the play area is full of knives and needles and other evil menacing instruments. That's Ummon's demo Retreat. While that may sound like a tempting morsel for metal fans looking for the most extreme, Ummon have taken that combination of sweet and evil and turned it into a rather confusing style that I personally can't seem to enjoy. It may be the overzealous drum tone which sounds like slamming the lid on an assortment of empty resin garbage cans, it may be the infusion of jazz and lounge elements which make even the demo's most metallic moments sound like impromptu jam sessions with no direction or it may be the release's rhythmic section which is the rhythmic equivalent of peeling back your toenails with the head of a ball peen hammer. I guess this just isn't my thing.

The three songs occupy a running time of just over sixteen minutes which, luckily for me is all I need to come the conclusion that none of the three songs has anything remotely worthy of replay. First track, "Lost found Lost," starts the clusterbang off with something between Napalm Death and Fluerty with a heavy leaning towards the latter's album Department of Apocalyptic Affairs minus the everything positive about that album. Gone are the smooth vocals, the mellow relaxing sections and the genuinely well composed tracks. There is no composition here... just moment after moment of written on the spot, "then-we-should-do-this" amateur compositional awareness we see of high school bands trying to imitate their cursory knowledge of metal. Once the second track, the title track "Retreat," runs through it's motions, I've taken the hammer and moved to my fingernails, trying to rip my fingers out of their sockets for being the accomplice to the crime of even pressing the play button. They must die for this.

I will give the band the satisfaction of being decent musicians, however their ability to play their instruments has been compromised by their ability to ruin my lunch break. I could have been sitting in my car starting to work on my review of Countess' "On The Wings of Defiance," - another doozy but we'll get to that at a later time after I review the endless history of Count Orlok's sole addition to the annals of human culture. The playing on Ummon's release is, as stated rather good, with everything being in time with each other and such. It at least makes the release listenable from the standpoint of I can tell what sections are intended to sound like; I'm still unsure if they sound like they are supposed to. Additionally, final track "Children of Boredom," has some interesting vocal experimentation. Don't let that fool you though... I would only seek this out if you are solely interested in tracking down something to piss your girlfriend off on a long car drive, irritate your friends on your way to see a show or are in need of a soundtrack to self mutilation. 

Did Ummon spell their own band's name wrong?

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