This. This album is why year-end lists can often be a fruitless undertaking. Inevitably, almost every year, there is that one band that drops an album just prior to the calendar flipping that one final time and completely blows up everything you thought was “the best” from the previous twelve or so months. The Forcefield Records debut from Virginia’s Unsacred is 2014’s version of the wrench in your year-end works.
Formed in 2012, Unsacred have been making quite the name for themselves with a fairly prolific output of stellar EPs. But less than a month ago, they delivered what has to be their finest work to date, the absolutely scathing False Light. If you didn’t know this band was from below the Mason-Dixon Line you’d swear they were from above the Arctic Circle. Their brand of crust and death-infused black metal is as frostbitten and as ear-raping as anything you’ll hear out of Scandinavia these days. Maybe even more so. But what they lack in corpse paint or frost-covered mountain backdrops, they make up for in fits of unbridled aggression and stunning brutality.
From the opening tortured screams of the title track to blasting tirades like “Erode” it’s clear that Unsacred are not to be taken lightly at any juncture. Their black metal touches all the bases of the earliest masters of the genre while forging through the darkest of musical history to wreak havoc the way many of the greats of the genre have done for lo these last 25 or so years. Take the track “Void II” for example. The old-school, thrash-inspired, galloping rhythms are met on the sonic battlefield by glacial blast beats and tremolo picking, all while some of the most hostile vocals around are barked and spewed like an animal trained to kill. The breakdown on the following track “Sun” is reminiscent of a Celtic Frost meets Lord Mantis showdown where fans of both bands, separated by time and oceans, can come together for hellacious and riotous festivities, a grand feast of the most extreme.
This is the type of album that has the potential to not only impact the eardrums of listeners, but the scene in general. This album is a potential game changer in the American black metal scene. As more American (and some European) black metal bands try to take black metal into more and more atmospheric and experimental territory, Unsacred have laid down the gauntlet. There’s is a style of music that comes with a mean streak a mile wide and the chops to back it up. This is band that will probably not be left off many year end lists in the future.
False Light is out now on Forcefield Records and can be experienced on Bandcamp.