Deathgrind is the only possible sub-genre that can properly claim the first full-length release from Mangled Carpenter. Fans of the deathgrind stylistic approach to extreme metal are going to be pleasantly surprised by the intensity of the record from start to finish, as well as the recording quality. It’s not too pristine or too gnarly. Instead, there’s a quality balance that shows the craftsmanship invested in Mangled Carpenter’s debut album, Under The Shadow.
The album ramps up with the first track, “The Summoning,” which is an all-out attack on anything likened to rhythm. It’s ferocious, with guttural vocals and doom-infused instrumental accompaniment. The theme of rhythmic pyrotechnics continues into “Clawing The Ark,” where we are first introduced to the unhinged drums that drill through the entire album. The barrage of noise doesn’t merit a response until it settles into a natural rhythm, elegantly placed in the puzzle of what we now know as Mangled Carpenter.
Seth Metoyer’s vocals are at their best in “Slices,” deeply uttering each haunting word like a terrorizing ghoul, and tracks like “Valley of Dry Bones” capture his vocals in a way that fascinates and offends the senses all at the same time. All the while, the constant pulse of the drums remains a theme throughout Under The Shadow.
“Fear and Trembling” may be the strangest song on the whole record, beginning with brutal grindcore, only to transition into an Enya-like melody that belongs in a fantasy soundtrack. It’s odd and completely throws you off, but that’s what makes it my favorite song on the album. It’s just unexpected, which is similar to the ending of the final track, “Lost And Found,” in which the song crashes out in eerie silence.
Under The Shadow has proven to be a brutally strong start for Mangled Carpenter. For a record with songs all under three minutes — some even under two — this raucous trio cuts to the chase with each track, ensuring nothing is left undone.