Memory: Unclear Mental Portraits from Lives Past

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Memory: Unclear Mental Portraits from Lives Past
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Memory: Ynclar Mental Portraits from Lives Past
Progressive Death Metal
Self-release
2012
Release length: 14:06
Bandcamp
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Formed back in 2010, California’s Progressive Death Metal group Memory has been honing their sound for quite some time. Originally a three piece including Oscar Padilla on guitars and vocals, formerly of Gortuary, they enlisted three more members in 2012 to round out the line-up. Now complete, they issue their first demo recording, Nuclear Mental Portraits from Lives Past, composed of three songs, two of which apparently linked ogether, as well as a brief introductory instrumental. But, does this have what it takes to put the group on the map for this style, or does it show a band that still needs some growth?

The production of this release is a bit on the raw side, but it helps for the atmosphere that the band periodically goes for. The guitars have a sharper distortion that sounds great for the isolated, creepy tone of the music. The unplugged/acoustic chords auit those tones as well, and seem to have a hint of an echo effect too. The bass has a mid-range twang to it one might find on any Progressive album, though a bit buried against everything else, sticking out largely in the most open of areas like breakdowns or solos. The vocals are a traditionsal guttural approach that is podded at about the same level as the rest of the instruments, but the drums really take center stage some times. The snares are tight and tear through the mix well, as do the crisp cymbals, but the thud of the bass kicks helps to push the emotional tone of the music well at just the right level.

Unclear Mental Portraits from Lives Past starts off with “.589,” a very creepy and barren sounding instrumental that easily sends a chill up your spine. It bleeds into “Erasure,” including the spoken audio samples that round out the previous track. At first, it’s a bit distracting, but it does help to maintain the atmosphere as the song continues. There’s a strong aggression felt in some of the catchy mid-pace verses and bridges, which are met with chaotic segments that still try to maintain the previous tempo. There’s also a dismal breakdown towards the end that puts a nice focus on the bass, gradually growing in richness with additional drums and an eerie environment on top of everything. The song itself pushes the Progressive aspect of the band pretty far, but even with how spastic the music can get, it still ends up an addicting cut.

Similar to those songs, the two parter “Unclear Mental Portraits from Lives Past” finds an instrumental for most of “Part 1,” kicking off with a menacing guttural roar. There’s a good deal of intensity from the harsher, heavier music being played, but it eventually shifts to a haunting piece with chords utilized more as wind with acoustic sounding riffs giving a cold touch to the skin amid the catchy bass performance overlapping everything the closer you get to the song’s end. This bleeds into “Part 2” thanks to another unplugged slower passage that eventually finds a harsher performance slamming in. some similarities can be heard between the two, including a good deal of variety to the pace and even tone, though far from what “Erasure” offered listeners. A more consistant track, the vocals find some layering to make them more intimidating, and the bass really sticks out with some additional technicality here and there.

Unclear Mental Portraits from Lives Past ends up feeling more like a conceptual piece than anything, Whether this was intentional or not, the flow between each track, as well as consistancy in tone and sometimes lyrical content, helps to suit the environments the band creates. Memory come out strong with this demo, and the only gripe is the spoken word segments that bleed from “.589” into “Erasure” due to how distracting they can be. There’s also the latter of the two can offer some truly hectic moments that don’t seem to fit the flow at times, but it doesn’ really hurt the experience once you give it some time. Fans of music not concerned with structure or a defined rhythm will definitely find plenty to rave about, as will those looking for a more emotionally manipulative experience. Unclear Mental Portraits from Lives Past will have you waiting for anxiously for Memory to record their debut full-length album.

0. .589 – 1:28
0. Erasure – 4:35
0. Unclear Mental Portraits from Lives Past (part 1) – 4:09
0. Unclear Mental Portraits from Lives Past (part 2) – 3:54
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10

mEMORY (band)

Physical review copy of this release provided by Memory.