After a silence spanning nearly 20 years, Unpure are returning with a new album named Prophecies Ablaze, which will be released at the end of March by Invictus Productions and The Ajna Offensive.
Twenty years (or nearly so) is a long time, and even Unpure‘s last album (2004’s World Collapse) thus pre-dates the start of our site. From time to time we do divert from focusing on new music in order to dig back into histories we missed before our current interests in metal took root, but I don’t remember ever exploring Unpure‘s discography as it grew from 1993 through that last album. And so I’ve come to Prophecies Ablaze with no expectations.
That’s probably just as well, since the Unpure that recorded the album now includes two new guitarists, Watain‘s Pelle Forsberg and Degial‘s Hampus Eriksson, as well as erstwhile Degial drummer Emil Svensson (who apparently joined the band in 2019), with only vocalist/bassist Kolgrim remaining from all the earlier days. So it could be considered a re-start in more ways than one.
The first public sign of what they’ve done on Prophecies Ablaze was the song “Northern Sea Madness“. Whatever Unpure might have done in the past, this one is a racing rocket of blistering drumwork, superheated riff-madness, and gritty, crazed howling – a deliciously evil blend of black and death metal. The rapidly vibrating riffage twists and turns in a boiling froth. Even when the drums begin to momentously boom and pump like freight-train pistons, and grim spoken words are uttered, the lead guitar screams in madness.
The penultimate segment of this electrifying song will really get your neck working, but the finale is a nightmare.
As of today we have a second sign of Unpure‘s new impurities, through our premiere of the song “Small Crooked Bones“. It only confirms that Unpure have no interest in letting you breathe, much less breathe easy — their speed and riotous energy are too much for that. It also proves that they’ve got a treasure trove of diabolical thrash riffs to pull from, and the technical chops to let them (and the rhythms) run wild without jumping the rails.
“Small Crooked Bones” also confirms that even though Unpure‘s new music gets adrenaline racing, it’s no one’s idea of “party thrash”. The riffing isn’t just crazed, it’s intensely sinister as well as exultant. Along with the paint-peeling ferocity of the possessed vocals, the vivid whirl and swirl of the guitars sounds dangerous, like a frenzy of pestilence burning through defenseless flesh.
But to be sure, the song also sounds fucking glorious, from the parts of the riffing that are brazen and blazing to the eye-popping lunatic shred of the soloing. Infernal exhilaration reigns, but once again, in the closing sequence Unpure will give you a fantastic chance to pump your fists and your heads and howl along with Kolgrim (though you might want to close your doors first so the neighbors don’t call for emergency services).
Invictus Productions and The Ajna Offensive will release this blistering black/thrash on LP, CD, and digital formats, but you’ll have to find asbestos protective gear somewhere else.