UNIFIED PAST — Spots (review)

UNIFIED PAST — Spots album cover Album · 2013 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
2.5/5 ·
Unified Past is an American group that's been recording since early 90's (first as Labyrinth) and Spots (2013) is their 6th studio album. The band is formed by the trio Stephen Speelman (vocals, guitars and keyboards), Victor Fassone (drums and percussion) and Dave Mickelson (bass). On Spots (2013) the band also worked with Karl Matzka playing keyboards on two tracks. Released by Melodic Revolution Records early this year with a weird artwork by Ed Unitsky. Spots (2013) is focused on heavy themes, mainly because of Stephen's guitars.

First track 'Blank' shows us an interesting mix of Prog Metal with a catchy melody. But I have to admit that Stephen's vocals bothered me a bit. They sound too robotic, with too many effects on them. Second track 'Deep' reminds me of Glam Rock of late 80's and early 90's but with a Prog twist. 'Hot' is a weird instrumental track where you can literally listen ALL kinds of music in one single song. Looks a bit of a show off though.

Unified Past's sound can't be really pointed only as Progressive Metal, however, they have a lot of it in their music. Fourth track 'Seeing' exemplifies that. Plenty of Prog, plenty of Metal and plenty of Glam Hard Rock. The follow up is the second instrumental track on the album, 'Tough'. On this track we have mid-tempo beats and plenty of guitars. At some point it makes you think of Metallica's music (circa Black Album era). And that pretty much sums up many things about Unified Past's sound on Spots (2013) so far: they're trapped somewhere between 1989 and 1991!

The next track 'Age' doesn't change the 'trapped in time' impression, but we have some really nice synths by Karl Matzka here. But by the time of 'Sun' I was a bit tired of the album. I must confess that the sound of Spots (2013) is not my favorite, too much reverb, compression and effects on everything.

The album goes on and we have 'Big'. This track has a nice intro with good ideas and it's a more 'classic Prog' track. Both two following tracks 'Wet' and 'G' have very heavy bass lines and the last song, properly called 'The Final' is their best track on the album. It's more melodic, more Prog and with less effects.

Spots (2013) is a good effort and it has some nice compositions but for me it's an album trapped in time in terms of sound. The production makes every instrument sound dated, as if they were in 1991. Too much reverb, too much compression, too many effects on everything recorded, from vocals to drums. To complete, sometimes the mixing is a bit of a mess too and there are sounds all over the place not in a good way.

If you have never heard about Unified Past and you got Spots (2013) to listen to, you really could think this was an album released in early 90's, not in 2013. So I can say that if this is your favorite period in music, this is your album. But if it's not, it'll be hard to please your ears.

(Originally posted on progshine.net)
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