The first slice of insanity from a true underground pioneer, Umbah’s Continuum shines bright as a masterpiece of original metal mayhem. Basically a project of Cal Scott (ex-Necrosanct – who themselves set new standards in death / grind in the early 90’s), this is a short and bizarre journey through a schizophrenic psyche. Strangest of all, instead of the multiple personalities displaying themselves in sections, they all seem to be playing together at once.
Since I got the album directly form the artist in the form of mp3 my tracklisting is alphabetical, but no matter how you listen to it, the monstrous sonic identity of this record stays intact.
Starting with the razor sharp and unconventional riffing (lead??!!) of “7 Fires of Prophecy”, this does not let up. Whatever you expect from a cyber-grind outfit, this album does not do. Cal’s riff arsenal is a downright inhuman mix of trey azathoth, grindcore and industrial riffage. The barrage is propelled by a drum machine from hell, with suitably bizzare stop-start moments punctuating the mix.Cal has at least 3 voices that he sometimes utilizes within a single minute, going from demonically manic, to a more gothic insane to industrial vox without much effort. The overall effect is like a mechanized elder one on a decadent killing spree.
The compositions and the guitar work has to be heard to be truly appreciated.
Check out the harmonic fills in “Creative Psychopathy” as an example. But truly all songs are vital, and it is a grave injustice to avant garde music in general and metal specifically that this did not receive wider distribution.
Many labels have released diluted and dumbed-down versions of this sound, but there is only one Umbah. And the production is crystalline, especially considering the DIY ethic involved in the making of Continuum.
You will be discovering layers of interesting sonic experimentation (including electronica) everytime you spin this, without ever getting bored or numbed by the sheer variety on offer here. A track like “Ju Ju Moon” will haunt you for days. The best bit is that this is so vastly superior to the current fad of kiddie-core metal bands doing the “everything but the kitchen sink” thing, its not even funny. Underneath all the experimentality and insanity, there is a sensibility that definitely belongs to a true metal head, from a time when men were men, beer was beer, and metal was not something to be taken lightly (or with eyeliner).
I will be reviewing other later releases of this true underground phenomena soon, so watch this space. Check out the website for mp3 songs and contact Cal directly for the releases.
7 Fires Of Prophecy
Doom On The Channel
Half Dead At Midnight
Ju Ju Moon