FREELOADER: UNMOTHERED’S UNMOTHERED
Welcome to the latest edition of “Freeloader,” in which we review albums that you don’t have to feel like a douche for downloading for free. Today Satan Rosenbloom checks out Unmothered’s self-titled debut.
For the two of you who are big fans of Austin’s incredibly bitching metal band Lions of Tsavo, Unmothered is what happened to guitarist/vocalist Matt Walker after he left Lions of Tsavo post-Swarm of the Unholy. For the rest of you, just know that Unmothered are an incredibly bitching metal band from Austin. And they’re releasing their eponymous debut EP for free. If you still aren’t convinced that you need to download this pronto, it’s probably because you’re bugged by Unmothered’s name due to some severe childhood abandonment issues. Unmothered can’t help you there. But they can help cure your case of All-Metal-Sounds-the-Same-Itis and Unable-to-Headbang Syndrome.
Walker and drummer Daniel Curry sport a less-is-more aesthetic, somewhat in the same gravitational field as other guitar/drum two-pieces Dark Castle and Black Cobra but more elemental than either. Walker’s riffs on “Leviathan” and “Heartache” burrow deep and leave residue in the trenches, thanks to some judicious use of reverb. Curry hits hard and cares more about groove than flash, making him the ideal sticksman for music this spacious and primal. The music’s bruising but not without its moments of pure rock ‘n roll abandon, especially on “The Awakening,” which sounds like the White Stripes covering fellow Austinites The Sword, or vice-versa.
Walker voice sounds like he huffs formaldehyde, and it’s not the best fit for Unmothered’s less vicious moments – the band was wise to keep the godly second half of “Spectre” instrumental, for example. But that friction between Walker’s constricted rasp and the band’s spacious riffing adds unique character to a band that’s not lacking for it to begin with. Bring on the full length. And dudes, please pick a better Facebook photo for the cover next time.
(3.5 horns up out of 5)
Get Unmothered here.