Under Threat - _Behind Mankind's Disguise_
(Conquest, 2003)
by: Brian Meloon (8 out of 10)
Under Threat hail from Bogota, Columbia, and this is their second release. Their music is heavy, mid-to-fast-tempo thrash with a good dose of melody. Most of the riffs are semi-melodic, staccato individual-note lines which are usually played in sync with the snare drum and are sometimes harmonized. It reminds me quite a bit of an updated version of Despair's _Beyond All Reason_ (from 1991), especially in the structure of the riffs and the way the guitars work with the drums. Also like Despair, they include a nice instrumental and some acoustic/clean guitar parts, mostly as intros. The main musical differences are the updated production -- which is much more powerful -- and the main vocals, which are a standard shouted/rasped style. Some of the background vocals are sung in a clean (but not really melodic) fashion, but the harsh vocals are very dominant. The music is heavily guitar-based, but there are a few parts where the bass and drums get to show off. Overall, the band doesn't seem to be very concerned about being flashy -- you won't find any five-minute guitar solos here. In fact, the guitar solos weren't very memorable at all to me, as the guitarists seem to favor short solos or harmonized guitar leads over long, elaborate solos. Their main focus seems to be on keeping the songs jam-packed with creative and moderately technical riffs. The playing is a little sloppy at times, but overall the band does a good job of staying together, which isn't a trivial task given the complexity of the music. The production is bit of a weakness, as it is inconsistent. At times, the drums are overpowering, and at others it's the vocals and/or guitar which are dominating. In addition, I would've preferred a tighter feel for the production, including a sharper guitar tone and a cleaner drum sound. Ultimately, this is quite a good release and I hope to hear more from these guys in the future. It should appeal to melodic thrash fans; it's not doing anything novel, but it does what it does pretty well.

(article published 23/3/2004)

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