Unreal City - Ephemeral Subsistence (Cover Artwork)

Unreal City

Ephemeral Subsistence (2008)

Double or Nothing

Hardcore from Pennsylvania is usually handled by Philadelphia, as they supply more well-known bands like Paint It Black and Blacklisted. On the other side of the state, Pittsburgh's output is diminutive in comparison. That doesn't mean all of the talent stems from Philly, though, as Unreal City definitely disproves that theory. Since their inception, Unreal City has only released a muddy-sounding, seven-song demo to appease their fans. This full-length changes that, even though half of the songs appeared on the demo (re-recorded here, of course). Fans of the demo and first-time listeners will be pleased to hear the well-tuned guitar work paired with the pounding blasts of the drum beats.

Unreal City showcases their metallic hardcore in the vein of Integrity and Vision of Disorder. Opening the album, "Coiled Destiny" wastes no time and lets the rhythm section lead into haunting guitars. The vocalist delivers some cathartic vocals and the song picks up the tempo and segues into a breakdown. The next song, "Slipping Into Perversion" is a minute-and-a-half song brimming with energy and intensity. The album continues in this vein until "War in Heaven" is reached. The song unfolds slowly into some riffing, no doubt heavily influenced by Integrity. The song has a slower, chugging pace, but it's exquisitely pulled off.

Unreal City continues with their blend of thick guitar riffs paired with shredding guitar solos, though they don't just set out to play their guitars as fast as they can. A song like "Synthesis of Paranoia" includes a slower solo that perfectly fits the pace of the song. The album continues with more eminent songs when it comes to "Visions." The intro gets the adrenaline going and it never stops until the two minutes and 20 seconds are over. "Swine" becomes another highlight with its bass-heavy intro and chunky riffs. "Beyond Reality," the album's closer, is almost uneventful. The song itself is good but it doesn't really bring anything new to the table.

The lyrical content is conveyed well in the album title, Ephemeral Subsistence. Not only do the lyrics contain a couple ten-dollar words -- they are pretty bleak and gloomy as well. The song "Hopeless" is as good as any representation of this: "The realization / of our own mortality / is a curse laid upon / the entire human breed." The lyrics fit the music very well, as the riffs can seem dire and apocalyptic within themselves.

If you enjoy metallic hardcore, especially that of the `90s, this almost-concealed album will suit you well.

MySpace page