Undercode - Enlightening The World

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Metal Warriors
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:49:00

Get ready for fire, brimstone and heavy metal - it's Undercode's Enlightening The World. This top-class Croatian metal band, whose material has previously been used in the soundtracks of several video games, has released this crunching debut through Australian label Metal Warriors. Hard metal riffs and dark, howling rock vocals combine in a high-energy production which is most worthy of attention.

Musically, Undercode combines a number of elements from different genres, producing a blend of heavy metal which is rather like that used in Joey Vera's Engine. We have complex progressive influences, hard power metal, and a generous serving of thrash. They occasionally call to mind early Metallica, which is enhanced by Damien's brooding lead vocals. The instrumentation is sparse and uncluttered, the sound raw and free and heavy, the writing simple and effective. My favourite is "Kingdom Of The Sand," with a quieter intro and soaring chorus; "Ashes Up Your Sleeves" and "As Above, So Below" are also ones to listen for, for the opposite reasons - hard and bitter.

The musicianship's great with few flaws, and the production is very well-done. This is an extremely well put together album which offers much; it's energetic and heavy, but presents us with quiet spots and enough musical diversity to stop it from becoming samey. It's also of a length where quality was obviously a factor over quantity, with a comfortable 50 minutes of consistently strong tracks.

Enlightening The World has its negatives, though. The main one is that it's a highly religious album, which is not in itself a problem, but it's extremely heavy-handed about it. The very first song invokes the Revelation of St John down on us all, which is an ... antisocial beginning to an album. I found it somewhat off-putting. Other songs tell of the corruption of mankind by fallen angels, the creation and fall of the semi-divine Nephilim and their destruction in the Great Flood, and predict the comings of the devil and the Christ. Not all the songs are like this though - the title track is in fact a tirade against mainstream music poseurs, which I had to applaud.

Still, the preachiness of the lyrics are not really uncomfortable enough to spoil the music, but it's something to be aware of. I still find it a fairly satisfying album. As mentioned, the instrumentation is generally bare-minimal stuff, so there's no metal bombast or melodica within - if that is what you like, you probably won't find much interest here. If, however, you like your metal stark and sharp, with bones and bite and teeth, this may be your thing. Check it out.

Similar to: Engine

[This review originally appeared August 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Do Not Forgive Us / Enlightening The World / My Mandylion / Alone / Kingdom Of The Sand / Freedom (Is Mine) / Ashes Up Your Sleeves / New Jerusalem / Angelic Rebellion / As Above, So Below

Damien - vocals
Jitz - lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Sabo - bass
Davor - drummer, backing vocals

Before The Sunrise (demo) (1999) Enlightening The World (2001)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin HR

Added: January 31st 2005
Reviewer: Karyn Hamilton
Artist website: www.undercode.org
Hits: 1258
Language: english


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