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Unsigned and Unholy: They Live | We Sleep, Iron Flesh, Faceless Mother

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It’s been a minute since I did one of these columns — they’ve become mostly Vince’s domain as of late — but a) some great unsigned bands have come across my proverbial desk recently, and b) some of you clearly paid attention to my recent post about how to write a proper query letter, which I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate. So this seemed like an ideal time to do a U&U of my own.

The South Wales, UK-based quintet They Live | We Sleep accurately compare their music to that of bands like Converge, Trap Them, and All Pigs Must Die. Their debut EP, Self Harm, is a city-wide riot in musical form, full of piss n’ vinegar n’ grime n’ grit. Or, as one listener review on their Bandcamp page succinctly put it: “This must be what it feels like to get kicked in the face for 10 minutes straight.” (And, yeah, they get bonus points for the Carpenter reference. I’m easy like that.)

Iron Flesh are a death metal band from France — but don’t think that means they’re yet another Gojira clone. The band could pretty convincingly be from Florida circa 1993. Although they sometimes flirt with neo-classical melodeath (e.g., the first half of “The Call of the Ancient One,” the middle of “Demonized Nation”), most of their material is much more old school: razorblade guitars, vocals that seem to be crying for help from the seventh level of Hell, etc.

I’m gonna be honest: the production on The Thing That Lurks, the three-song release from Pakistan’s Faceless Mother, is pretty whack. But they clearly know how to write a good song. Imagine what their brand of melodic death-doom would sound like in Andy Sneap’s hands and tell me this isn’t a winner:

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