ALTERED EXISTENCE "Something Unknown"

I, THE CREATOR "I, The Creator"

By Dr. Abner Mality

I'm familiar with both of these Illinois bands, who approach extreme metal in different ways and have decided to test the waters with mini-CD's.

Altered Existence is an oldschool death metal band of long standing in the Land of Lincoln and they take a lot of pride in the fact that they are Peoria's most hated band. I know for a fact they deliver a great show live and with "Something Unknown" featuring an opening sample from Roger Corman's "The Pit And The Pendulum", I was all set for some basic, bludgeoning death metal. Alas, it pains me to relate that "Something Unknown" is undone by a dreadful production. The band should not have released a record with this weak a sound. The drumming in particular sounds like someone beating empty catfood cans with pretzel sticks while the guitar sound is very thin and dry. I have no major problem with the material here, which is bass-dominated, very simplistic death metal, but to successfully deliver this material, the guitar needs balls and the drums have to kick. The most enjoyable tune is the instrumental "In The Churchyard", which brilliantly uses violin to accentuate some very creepy riffs. I know these dudes are bettter than this record shows and with a better production, maybe a bit more speed and some more vocal fluctuation, they'll get there. I also really dig the cryptozoology theme of the record.

I, The Creator are a deathcore band from Freeport, Illinois that is really starting to make noise and they, too, deliver a very good live show. With their self-titled debut, they took the time to actually get a pretty full and rich sound, which makes the music come across with a lot of heaviness. Even though they have the typical trappings of an "all-ages" deathcore band, they keep tempos and riffs mixed up and they attack with a ton of energy. The death growls of their vocalist are also pretty potent. You don't have time to get bored with the 5 tunes here, but if this approach could be as strong over the course of 45 or 50 minutes, I don't know. Also, goofy "ironic" song titles like "Where All The White Women At?" and "Ethan's Beard" should be ditched right away...the metalcore scene has outgrown that.

I still look forward to future excursions from both these homegrown bands, but Altered Existence really has got to invest in a better production next time.