Black Sites – Untrue

Untrue Album Cover Art

Black Sites – Untrue
Release Date: 08/10/2021
Running Time: 43:51
Review by Simon Black

Prog Metal is, probably, simultaneously the hardest and the most likely to benefit from the new remote recording models forced on the world’s musicians in the last eighteen months. On the one hand, you more often are talking about a cadre of musicians who are usually not short of some serious technical skills both with their instruments and the technology behind the recording process, – hence the reason so many self-produce. On the other hand, we are also talking about a sub-genre of the Metal world (or perhaps Empire would be more accurate a collective noun) where subtle interplay, shared musical shorthand and improvisational precision (what an oxymoron) are crucial in creating an end product that is both technically complex but a fluid living thing. The consequence of recent events has meant many Prog albums that have sounded clinically precise, but lack the emotion that comes from face to face writing and recording.

“Untrue” does utilise a producer, but is ninety percent remotely delivered. Oddly, it has an enormous element of freshness and groove that others in the genre have recently failed to capture. The presence of a producer helps, because you have a third party able to offer opinion and constructive criticism regarding arrangements and temper the technical flourishes to enable accessibility. In this instance the production has also delivered a really rough and ready garage feel to the sound mix, which means instead of the acoustically over-polished sound that often comes at the expense of energy, this whole thing actually feels like it was recorded in a rehearsal room environment or could be coming at you live. Once you adjust your head to that concept, then the album flies out of the speakers and steals you away.

This is the third full length release from the Chicago-based three piece and quite frankly it’s a doozy. It has a huge amount of energy to go with that fresh feel, but frustratingly takes a couple of tracks to get into its groove, picking up the pace and energy as it goes like a boulder on its way down a mountain. It does that with a guitar sound and groove that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Stoner setting, but technically varied enough to never get boring. That said, for a Prog album it does not outstay its welcome, with tracks around the five to six minute mark as standard, with all eight of them coming in under forty-five minutes of run time. ‘They Eat Their Young’ steals the show for me, with its belting pace energy, roaring rhythm riffs and galloping bass line, but with enough subtle fills and time complexities to get the musos nodding in approval, you can see this tearing up a live crowd balancing the technical with the accessible perfectly, which to be fair is a great summary of the whole album.

‘They Eat Their Young’ (Audio)

01. Sword Of Orion
02. Call It By Its Name
03. Lost Tribes
04. Echo Of A Lie
05. The Worst Of Us
06. Nocturne/Everything Went Black
07. They Eat Their Young
08. White Ashes

Mark Sugar – Vocals, Guitar
Ryan Bruchert – Guitar, Vocals
Garry Naples – Drums


Black Sites Promo Pic

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