Opener “Undermatch” is a hell of a calling card for Portuguese grinders Utopium. It’s a stampede of wildebeest with rusty Folger’s can snare drums for feet that gets savaged by a king of the jungle scream (“Armageddon!”) and a maliciously bass heavy assault on the tympanum. That bass sound will go on to form the bedrock of the song’s doomed bridge before blasting farewell. It’s also the secret to Conceptive Prescience’s triumph.
Self produced by Utopium with art contributed by Joemack of Complete Failure, Conceptive Prescience is a damn near flawless eight song effort by the band who are making their debut available for sale, stream or download here. What are you standing around here for? Go give this shit a listen.
Utopium rock a low slung grind akin to Phobia and Catheter with a mix of European precision, American savagery and a deft hand at imagery with songs like the awesomely titled “Blacksmith of Irony.” “For the Sake” downshifts gears – from fifth down to fourth – just enough to really savor the thrashtastic riffs that can only be described as “radical” just before it gives way to the all build, no release simmer of its iron shod second half.
Where things go briefly – but annoyingly – askew is the lumbering sludge aimlessness of “Slumber Edge,” which manages to crib from Grief’s “Earthworm” without any of that song's charisma. While Utopium had more than proved themselves in the preceding five songs as being adept at lacing their grind with down tempo interludes to arresting effect, “Slumber Edge” is monotonous, a five mile back up on an otherwise open stretch of interstate on a glorious spring day.
But all that means is the band went six for seven on their original songs (nearly 86 percent success rate, for you math types) before closing out with a cock punch cover of Nasum’s “My Philosophy” that’s just devastating. This is a band I whole heartedly endorse. Utopium are a band to watch.
[Full disclosure: Utopium sent me a download for review.]