Unsafe: Enter Dark Places

Gallic groove metallers show a touch of finesse

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A band that likens themselves to Pantera and Machine Head are clearly setting the bar so high they’d need to pole-vault the fucker.

Quite where Unsafe’s comparisons shine through on Enter Dark Places is a bit of a mystery, but the emphatic drill of breakneck riffs and Stéphanie Nolf’s gender-questioning roars make you want to bang your head and run for shelter – in a good way.

In fairness, the ball-heavy stomp and pack-leader mentality of metal’s aforementioned big guns are detectable influences, but there are other forces at play, which make this an attention-grabbing listen, recognisable in the full-throttle thrash of Watch Out and smashing of At The Gates against Kreator on Virtual Jail. A bombardment of jackhammers and dynamic solos keep up the tempo, which, although annoyingly invariable, gives this album a tumultuous, energetic presence. The thrash-death recipe isn’t new, but the production is sharp and the nimble fingers of their two guitarists lift this out of the catacombs of meathead music territory.