Now be careful – if you’re looking this band up as a search it will take you to a five piece premier wedding and functions band. This is not they, nor is it the Superstition from Chicago. This is the death metal version from Sante Fe, whose cv boasts two previous demos prior to this debut album. The subject matter is simply expressed as ”evil”, so you probably don’t want this collective for your wedding.
The ode to unholy transformation starts with ghoulish doom, but that’s just a short intro and we’re soon being launched into a pit of vipers. I’m not sure if “Highly Attuned Beasts of the Dark” is a description of the band themselves but as an epithet it would certainly fit. I like the control, as a pumping rhythm provides the funereal backdrop to twisty, technical lines and a black metal vocal delivery. The bats and ghouls are out in force in this dirty scene. It’s a shame that “Highly Attuned Beasts” ended in the middle of nowhere after four minutes of building an atmospheric picture. The contemptuous riff and technical portrayal of nastiness returns immediately with “Spiritual Sunderance”. Again I very much like the indulgent technicality. The vocals have an echoing quality. The instrumentalists blast out their stuff at a measured pace, allowing us to soak up the atmosphere. I like that too. The distorted ghouls return for a few brief seconds with “Unholy Transformation – Pt II” before it’s back to the deep and heavy business of “Passage of Nullification”. I’m not sure if there is a theory of death metal which says that its relentlessness is supposed to grind you down, but I sense that’s what’s going on here. But I didn’t feel that, as the technical twists and changes are too interesting. With the rumbling thunder and evil guitar sirening, it’s an impressive combination. Belligerently the death train rumbles on through to “Charnel Pleasures”, here and there taking us down an alternative atmospheric and even a psychedelic path but never a nice one of course.
At 34 minutes, “The Anatomy of Unholy Transformation” is quite short. In one sense, that’s fine because Superstition avoid unnecessary padding and I commend them for that. On the other hand, I felt there was the potential for more, especially with the psychedelic element which could have been blended in more. This album had the air of a demo. As for the thing itself, technically it’s a really interesting listen and paradoxically brings the dark and dirty qualities of death metal to life. “Six sonorous incantations of funereal obsession” is how they describe this. Thinking about it, the inclusion of “The Anatomy of Unholy Transformation” would make that wedding party more interesting.
(7.5/10 Andrew Doherty)