Ah, Djent, thou art a fickle mistress. Ever since Meshuggah released their classic Destroy, Erase, Improve, legions of bands have been clamouring to follow in the footsteps of the polyrhythmic metal gods. Though Germany’s Unprocessed do follow in the steps of the mentioned Swedish powerhouse, the quintet from Wiesbaden also showcase a variety of different influences on their brand new EP Perception.
Founded on the expected principles of overabundant polyrhythms, melodic-to-harsh vocals and atmospheric ambience combined with ultra-modern production techniques, Unprocessed is a band that should be closely watched by music fans the world over.
Clocking in at just under 34 minutes, Perception is split into six digestible songs. The music found on the EP is typical Djent affair, albeit with a fair amount of flair woven in. The polyrhythmic drumming, the jazzy chords, clean breaks and ambient sections so often displayed by Periphery and TesseracT are all present. The guitarists (three of them) are in top form, providing both memorable, groovy riffs and unsettling melodies and arpeggios, seamlessly alternating between the two. The drumming alternately locks in with the guitars to power forward the band’s groove, or playing across and under the riffs in flurries of dead-accurate double kick. Surprisingly, bassist Simon Lorenz is not lost in the mix. Instead, his bass brings a new element to the style.
The songwriting too, is in top form. Presenting a slower, more epic version of the established Djent formula, Perception weaves to and from, meandering through various sections and moods towards its inevitable climax and finale. The moody build-ups at times almost bring to mind the vintage work of post-rock moguls Sigur Ros.
The production on Perception is, in one word, immaculate. The EP is at the forefront of high-tech production. The guitars are clean and clear when they need to be, and heavy and groovy the next moment. The bass is highly audible, and at times even a tad funky, bringing a presence and dimension not often felt in records of this style. The drums sound heavy and hard, and carry the band with a boom and a thud. Ambient synths float in and out of the background, providing sufficient atmosphere but never taking over the recording. Manuel Gardner Fernandes’ (who is one of the guitarists and a co-founder of the band) vocal execution and production are also spot-on, never completely overtaking the show, but never sinking to the background.
This EP shows a lot of promise from a band on the brink of extraordinary things, all wrapped up with epic songwriting tendencies and a great deal of talent. Perception is a truly promising release, and if Unprocessed continue to hone their style as they have obviously done over the past few years, they will no doubt become one of the genre’s most defining bands.