The Unconscious Mind is a project from the guitarist Simon Cléroux of technical death metal band Derelict, who made my top albums list last year with their second full length Perpetuation. The Unconscious Mind differs from Derelict in a lot of ways, although when you’re looking for it you can see similarities in the playing style in the two bands. Simon is an incredibly talented player, and the people he teamed up with on this album are of equal measure on their respective instruments.
This project is a blackened death metal project, but not one that is trying to be the next Behemoth or Hate. Instead what we get is an incredibly dark, heavy, and technical piece of work with some symphonic elements thrown in to add a brooding atmosphere. It’s a breath of fresh air, and a very capable one at that.
It’s hard to really pick where to begin with this album. There’s so much good material here. The guitar work, as I noted briefly before is simply fantastic on this album. Simon handles both the lead and rhythm guitars on the recordings, and his blending of the two is really well done. It’s a great blend of epic shredding and more intricate lead work. I can see similarities between his lead guitar work in this project and in Derelict, but that’s hard to avoid when both bands are on a rather technical side. The bass guitar on this album is nicely audible as well, even above the wall of sound provided whenever the guitars are killing it on top of the blast beats from the drums. You can hear the bass guitar picking away at his part, and it notches itself it very well with the wall of sound.
The vocals on this album are a great blend of black metal style screams and regular death metal type growls and gutturals. They’re perfectly fit into this album and while nothing any black or death metal fan hasn’t heard, they are well done and well above competent. I can’t truly recall any stand out moments with the vocal, but overall I feel their part was well done.
My only complaint about the album is that not every song is truly standout. While each song is a feat of talent, pouring over with technical prowess, by the end of the album I find myself having trouble recalling a handful of the tracks. However this album has plenty of moments that make it a memorable one. For me the songs with more atmosphere to them are particularly great, such as ‘Another Dying World’, or the final track/title track ‘Where Philosophers Fall’. That or if the track opens with a killer guitar riff such as ‘My Deadly Sin’ or ‘The demon inside Me’.
This album is one of the more impressive albums I’ve heard recently, I wish I had heard it earlier as it came out right at the end of last year, but I’ll likely consider it for my albums this year. However I’m not sure this album beats out Hate’s Solarflesh for me in the Blackened Death Metal genre, and with Behemoth expected to put out an album this year it’s going to make it a pretty good race, but The Unconscious Mind show that they can put out material on par with these acts and for a debut album I am more than impressed with this piece. It will no doubt get more spins from the rest of the year.