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(UN)WORTHY, 'This Present Darkness'

This Present Darkness

Street Date: May 17, 2024
Style: Deathcore
Buy It: Bandcamp

"A Southern California deathcore duo whose goal is to spread the Gospel." This is the short and sweet, yet wholly accurate Facebook bio of Rottweiler Records artist (UN)WORTHY. Musician Jordan Jimenez and vocalist Dennis Woods have been steadily releasing ferocious singles and EPs since 2020, using their gifts to preach Christ and to stand boldly in their beliefs. Just over a year after their last EP, Where Light Divides, (UN)WORTHY is continuing to spread the Gospel with their latest offering, This Present Darkness.

Instead of straightforward evangelization, This Present Darkness takes a concept album approach, with seven songs that take the listener on a journey through the mind and experience of a man in the midst of a crisis of faith. "Forsaken By God" opens with the man screaming the famous words of Jesus on the cross, "Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani / my God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" Featuring guest vocals from Voluntary Mortification's Conner Luttig, the song goes on into deep despair, questioning God's presence and begging for help. Things worsen in "Satan Whispers" as the devil enters to fully persuade the man that God doesn't love him anymore, in an attempt to coerce him to just give up ("You try to hold it all together / but inside you're falling apart / so why not abandon your faith / and follow your wicked heart?"

As soon as Satan finishes speaking, "Psalm of Lament," an adaptation of Psalm 42, starts turning the whole thing around, and the Lord enters the discussion in "The Spirit Speaks," changing the atmosphere and bringing reconciliation with Him. Ultimately, the man finds his strength in God and receives grace yet again "(You never forsook or abandoned me / You saw me through until the very end / You didn't refer to me as a servant / instead You called me Your child and Your friend"). Again, the album doesn't really preach or perform an altar call, but instead describes an experience with the reality of spiritual warfare and God's power to bring truth and salvation. It's comforting to be reminded that God is in control when things are bleak, and (UN)WORTHY does a great job of this.

They kill it in the music department, as well. Jimenez and Woods work together really well to create sounds that not only devastate one's ears with heaviness, but also musical moments that complement what's happening lyrically. When the album opens with the immense feelings of abandonment, those cries are met with crushing guitar riffs. When Satan is screaming his lies, he's doing so to intense, machine-gun blast beats. It's all in order and not necessarily chaotic, but you can feel the confusion and fear in the music. On the other side of the coin, the latter half of the EP sounds much more victorious. It's still really heavy (the deathcore sound only really ever lifts in the interlude), but it's clearer and matches the feel of God's presence redeeming the situation. Even Woods' vocals go from almost sinister-sounding to triumphant and uplifting. These two clearly know what they're doing.

This Present Darkness is a highly enjoyable release that further demonstrates that (UN)WORTHY deserves some more recognition in the metal scene. The whole EP is well-thought-out, should be easy for fans of the genre to pick up and enjoy, and could even be a good gateway for metalcore fans who are curious about heavier subgenres.

- Review date: 5/13/24, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com

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. Record Label: Rottweiler Records
. Album length: 7 tracks
. Street Date: May 17, 2024
. Buy It: Bandcamp

  1. Forsaken By God (feat. Conner Luttig) (3:54)
  2. This Present Darkness (3:50)
  3. Satan Whispers (3:50)
  4. Psalm of Lament (1:34)
  5. This Too Shall Pass (feat. Joe Holt) (3:34)
  6. The Spirit Speaks (4:01)
  7. The Journey Home (4:52)



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