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Death Metal Monday, A to Z: UNCANNY

obvious swede pranksters are obviousHowdy!  I didn’t really want to go back to this particular well if possible before the end of our alphabet, but for Sweden’s UNCANNY, and in the interest of my limited time today, I’m making an exception. (No comment from UNLEASHED or all the other UN-bands waiting in the wings.)

Their 1994 debut and only full-length Splenium for Nyktophobia will be our focus. A bit late to the game for the Stockholm surge and right on the cusp of the melodic explosion engendered by IN FLAMES, AT THE GATES, DISSECTION et al, UNCANNY somewhat maladroitly bridges the gap with a random, off-kilter, sometimes thrashy and occasionally very poignant piece of death metal not without its pleasant turns and surprises. The production, courtesy of Dan Swanö and Unisound Studios, is quite stellar and spacious and lends additional power to the more traditional tracks.  Check out “Brain Access” and it’s incessant forward march of tasteful riffcraft and blast or the slow walk into melody of “Screaming in Phobia” for two of the best examples SfN has to offer.  For the rest, take a listen below, making sure to stream to the bitter end. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jluICV06Vy8 If you got through it you can’t help but notice some right-angle turns in tone and mood that seem to accelerate as the album closes.  It sincerely feels as if they ran out of ideas in studio on this one.  From punkish overtones to GODFLESH-style percussion and outright cheap keyboard instrumental effects, Splenium for Nyktophobia certainly keeps things “interesting” but unfortunately fails to capitalize on its best metallic assets, which I think were above average for even the saturated Swedish scene. Just about all their demo material is much murkier, more brutal and more death metal oriented than everything here, leading me to believe the cleaned up power and juxtaposed oddball nature of the album was a deliberate departure if it wasn’t merely a failed studio “experiment.”  It’s possible the band had an even stranger future in mind that never materialized due to lack of interest in this disc, released originally on the amateurish Unisound Records from Greece (no relation to the studio, but an interesting bit of trivia).  Like most Swedes, the UNCANNY members have résumés a mile long, and I’m sure the scattered legacy these guys seemed destined to create was borne out individually in those many projects. You can still find the compilation disc from Colorado’s Dark Descent Records (home of local hordes HOUSE OF ATREUS) for a fairly reasonable price if UNCANNY sufficiently piqued your interest.  Otherwise stick with the tried-and-true if their acid-case wanderings weren’t your bag. Cheers!

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2 comments on “Death Metal Monday, A to Z: UNCANNY

  1. Passenger
    April 2, 2015

    I had a little busy week too, but thankfully I can make it up by posting some recommendations. As you mentioned yourself, there are A LOT of interesting bands starting with Un (like Unholy, Unanimated, etc.), so this time I mention something more exotic – Ugra Karma from NEPAL!

    Yup, this small country has a very vital metal scene.

    Also honorary mention for Utumno. In certain circles they are considered ultra-classic, which is an exaggeration, even if their mini does kick ass.

    • Neil
      April 4, 2015

      Thanks for the recommend. Can’t say I’ve heard much from that part of the world so it’ll be fun to check out.

      Also agreed on UTUMNO — not quite untouchable but better than the average Swedish “lost gem” for sure. Time to pull that one out again!

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