Mexican death metal grinders, Unidad Trauma, write conceptual music about the pernicious practises of occult medicine and the unethical thirst for knowledge that puts the patient second to the interests of science. Indeed, all four members use the “Dr” prefix as part of their pseudonyms and take great delight in assaulting the listener with a harsh medicine of extreme metal. At twenty-one minutes in length, Arte Médica Siniestra is an EP that needs no anaesthetics to complete its operation.
With so much attention given to the lyrical themes and cerebral aspect of the art, you might wonder if the music is subordinate to the band’s image. This couldn’t be further from the truth. ‘Nexion A | Ω’ is an imperious blast of death metal with a strident stomp that’ll wear the most durable jackboots into the ground. The double-kick drums are the dominant feature here, like a sinister torture machine operated by mechanics rather than electronics. As a Spanish language band, they’ll invite obvious comparisons with Brujeria, which are not unfounded. Yet it might be better to imagine what Gojira would sound like if they played grindcore. The unpolluted guitar crunch remains consistent throughout the record, retaining a live sound that the drums match in style. ’38 Pacientes De…’ is a bass-heavy grind that might remind you of the intro to System of a Down’s ‘Toxicity’ before it launches into a hardcore/tech death hybrid with goregrind vocals.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the inclusion of black metal tremolo riffs where you least expect them. ‘Alquimia Forense’ mixes Carcass and Psycroptic with the plectrum-attack of Anaal Nathrakh. Here they dish out a helping of blast beats and caveman vocals near the end but keep things technical enough to avoid the jet engine dynamics of those bands that aim for preposterous speed records. The excellent ‘33 (A La Izquierda)’ shows Unidad Trauma understand the need to vary their tempos with mid-paced chugs and double-kick grooves recalling the morbidity of Obituary and the rhythmic precision of Exhumed. There’s nothing low budget or muddy in the mix here, although one cannot discount the malevolence of the music or the grotesque humour behind the lyrics.
As a debut release, Arte Médica Siniestra shows plenty of promise, even if the goregrind approach prefers more of a riff soup platter than blood-and-guts splatter. Nonetheless, you can guarantee they’ll be opening for Cattle Decapitation next time they pass through Mexico… if they haven’t already gone underground and on the run.
Release Date: 28/05/2021
Record Label: Concreto Records
Standout tracks: Nexion A | Ω; 38 Pacientes De…; 33 (A La Izquierda)
Suggested Further Listening: Carcass – Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious (1991), Pestifer – Expanding Oblivion (2020), Psycroptic – Psycroptic (2015)