Unspoken Words

Well whadya know? Another ultra talented tech-ish band from Canada – Montreal to be exact. When I received this promo, Derelict was still an unsigned band, but was recently signed to Year of the Sun. The packaging the band sent the CD in is immediately impressive, giving the notion that this is a band that has their shit together. Included was all the pertinent info a person could be looking for, all printed on a thick, high quality glossy paper. I knew right away that I should be in for a treat, because when a band puts forth this kind of effort into the non-music aspects, you know they mean business and the music should follow suit.

Unspoken Words is the bands third release (following full length Ideological Prey and Carry the Flame EP), but after spinning it a couple times, you could be forgiven for thinking they were a much more seasoned group. “Everything but the kitchen sink” is an applicable term here as they incorporate a multitude of influences, ranging from flamenco and classical into death and black metal. The basis of their sound is no doubt of the often spastic tech death metal variety, but melody, elements of thrash and even bits of groove can be heard throughout. Take album standout “Forth with the Herd” for example; a classically styled lead melody is simply stunning and seamlessly interwoven with the relentless tech battery, and about one third through, the song breaks for a haunting key/piano section. “Xenocide” opens with flamenco stylings, then shifts into a thrashy death metal tune, complete with Eric Burnet’s raspy growls. Another piece of flamenco pops up near the end of “Unspoken Words pt 2: Demonizing”, but more on that in a minute. Album opener “Machete” is a little more straight forward, containing some of that groove I mentioned, but still hits like a hammer to the skull. Follow up “Pirates” lays on the tech a little thicker, but only after a quirky start – I’m not sure what genre tag would be associated here, but it wouldn’t sound out of place on a Sublime album – reggae perhaps? I don’t know, though it’s definitely a curve ball, but a welcome one.

The last five tracks of the album comprise the “Unspoken Words” saga, which is essentially one continuous song broken into 5 pieces. This is where things really go into spastic tech territory. The first part, “Ripe with Martyrs” is a forty second ambient piece that could have easily been attached to the aforementioned “Demonizing”, or better yet, left off entirely as it adds nothing of value. “Demonizing” is loaded with killer, choppy riffs, alternating with those of the more noodley variety. Within the last minute, the song abruptly breaks into the flamenco piece I mentioned for a short jaunt. Then it’s back into the song for the lead into “Never Reborn”, which carries on much in the same fashion minus the flamenco outburst. “Pt. 4: Surrounded by Decline” has more groove and bits of melody, but still has some requisite schizophrenic, stop/start riffs and drums. “Pt. 5: The Names of the Dead” is another pointless track, beginning with a sort of electronic fuzz, then leading into a sort of serene instrumental piece.

While I enjoy what Derelict has done here on Unspoken Words, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think that all of these different elements sometimes feel tacked on and disjointed. There are no smooth tie-ins – the left field influences are sort of just ‘there’ rather than properly incorporated into the compositions. For some, I could see this as being detrimental, as it could easily be construed as momentum killing. I myself enjoy it, but what the hell do I know? Words rarely ever properly explain what one hears, especially with an album as such, so do yourself a favor and check it out on your own to form your own opinion.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
May 19th, 2009


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