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Review: Unsane – Sterilize

Unsane, a band that has been making music for a fair number of years.
An album new is one that which they have released.
Sterilize it is called.

The sound is quite bass-heavy; almost more than what has been heard from Unsane prior to Sterilize. However, the bass does not sound as though it is the focus of the songs. Rather, it seems to be the most prominent instrument in each song, driving along continuously whilst adding a bit of groove.

The drums match both the bass and the guitar in any given moment, adding and reducing percussion when required to emphasize and underscore any given section whilst sounding steady and tight and the guitar fills the remaining space with angular lines and an almost broken, dissonant and at times stabbing sound that adds to the bass-heavy nature of the songs.

The vocals sit somewhere between the rear and middle of the songs without being entirely engulfed. Chris Spencer still has a strong delivery in his scream, sounding as tense as it always has. Sitting where it does in the music, the lyrics become partially buried but still understandable. It seems that the sound of the vocals and lyrics become more about what qualities they add to the music rather than what they are about. With that being said, the lyrics themselves do sound quite well-developed without sounding overworked, falling into the spaces they occupy without sounding as though they had to be forced in awkwardly.

As a whole the songs work quite well together. They are all hard-hitting but in different ways, such as “Factory” being very sudden and bleak, “The Grind” seemingly rolling along and… grinding… and “Avail” being a slower track seeming almost monolithic in its sound. As always, along with the noise there is a surprising bit of melody in what can be heard (“Distance” probably has the most overt display here), which balances the more abrasive nature of the music.

Sterilize is a solid album that reinforces Unsane’s sound. Cold, abrasive and intense, it is as relentless as they’ve always been. There’s few, if any missteps to be found on this driving, pummeling album. It is worth a listen.

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