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Review: Debase - Unleashed

Label: Noise Records
Year released: 2004
Duration: 48:21
Tracks: 11
Genre: Unclassifiable

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: March 17, 2004
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating

Rated 3.8/5 (76%) (5 Votes)

I must admit I was a bit uneasy when this came in the mail. The description mentioned that in the past the band had been put in genres such as doom, thrash, power and *gasp* nu-metal. I don't know about you, but all my warning lights went up at the same time. Well, I don't know about their past recordings, but I'm happy to say that if there's anything nu-metal in "Unleashed", it's kept to an absolute minimum. There are a few elements here and there that can be likened to that faggotesque genre, but it's mostly very discrete and only in small doses at any one time - and also only in a couple of songs. In other words, there isn't enough of that influence to put a shadow on what I must say is quite a surprising discovery for this listener. I had never heard of Debase before and wasn't expecting much. It only took a couple of listens to understand why they're genre-defying: There's a bit of everything here: Some doom-ish songs, some more prog-ish material at times, then more in-your-face thrash-induced rockers, without forgetting some "simple" bare bones heavy metal, plus as mentioned earlier a bit of nu-influenced stuff that sounds oh-so-simplistic compared to the rest of the album. Very diverse sound here, yet despite this the whole album feels connected somehow, like everything belongs and this thing just flows smoothly. One could argue that the connecting factor here is the sheer heaviness of the music - don't go looking for some lighthearted wimpy stuff here, you won't find it.

Even more surprising for me is that not only do Debase use some sound effects (common nowadays), but they do it with taste and to great effect that actually help the song rather than ruin it (now that's something.) The vocal style is "clean", usually not overdoing things too much (a bit "nu" here and there but as for the music, it's not enough to ruin the rest), sometimes the vocal melodies remind me of some of Danzig's mid-80s stuff. The vocalist manages to keep up with the diversity of the music, doing an excellent job adjusting his vocal style to each song on the album.

It's almost impossible to compare this band to the others, something common with so-called "genre-defying" bands. Is this the birth of Debase-metal? :) Doesn't matter... What matters here is that we have a band that not only decided to do something different (there are many of those), but has also succeeded in doing so (a much rarer occurrence!) If you're one of those who has been complaining that there's nothing new (sound-wise) coming out in metal, then maybe "Unleashed" will satisfy your thirst. I think there's something in here bond to please fans of doom/thrash/power/heavy metal, as long as you don't mind the atmosphere being somewhat dark. Highly recommended (duh).

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