Christian deathcore. Already, I can see before my very eyes visions of the trve cowering back to their antitheistic holes, cowed by what is sure to be the very antithesis of their aesthetics. It always struck me as odd that there so many Christian metalcore bands out there. After all, the genre is a combination of death metal and hardcore – genres not exactly known for their support of religion. My befuddlement notwithstanding, dedicated readers of this very website will know that Kronos fears neither God nor core, and I picked Waver out of the promo bin knowing full well what I was getting myself into.

God or no, deathcore is deathcore, and Unseen Faith launch into the genre right off the bat with a collection of choppy mosh riffs, muscular roars, and the occasional thrashy bit reminiscent of Thy Art is Murder, a song called “Lost World.” It’s not much in terms of memorability, but the tropey opener at least gets the momentum going, setting up the slightly better “Friend of the Devil.” Comparisons to modern deathcore’s frontrunners are easy to make here; “Friend of the Devil” and the following “Dystopia” play into the high-energy strike of strung-out leads against chuggy grooves that’s a favorite tool of Fit for an Autopsy and many a djent/deathcore bedroom project.

At times that’s what Waver reminds me of most. The year is 2010; 8-strings just got cheap enough that seventeen-year olds could ask their parents for one, and The Pirate Bay’s ProTools torrent is guzzling bandwidth across the world. I’m just beginning to wrap my head around ObZen and packing a nascent music library with the enticing unknowns in the guts of a cadre of .rar files1. HeavyBlogisHeavy fueled a prog-djent zeitgeist, and somewhere in Sweden Vildhjarta just discovered the concept of brutality. The back half of Waver is just one huge nostalgia trip, full of delay, meaningless rhythms, and bass breaks, taking me back to those strange days before I knew about Ulcerate.

It’s sometimes fun in the moment, but if I pay enough attention, it all snaps back into focus: the year is 2017, djent went up in flames and took most of deathcore with it, and I just don’t like this music anymore. The breakdowns, stomp riffs, the overly-crunchy-crisp guitar sound; they all became played out years ago, and Waver just doesn’t have anything else going on. On the whole, it is a painfully generic and uninspired take on a style that only ever got popular because it was so easy to reproduce. Its better moments, like the chorus of “Tree,” are swamped in uninteresting, chuggy boilerplate that’s utterly faceless, and its lyrics are just Christian rock tropes delivered in a mouthy tough-guy roar.

There are good ways to do deathcore, and there are good ways to incorporate faith into metal. Waver avoids all tried and true techniques for both, and unsurprisingly comes up very short in terms of quality. Perhaps listening to albums like this is the penitence I must pay for having found a perfect album in What Passes For Survival. If that’s the case, It was damn well worth it. What isn’t worth it is any time you spend listening to Waver. The trve had the right idea about this one.


Score: 2.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Prime Collective
Websites: unseenfaith.bandcamp.com | unseenfaith.dkfacebook.com/unseenfaith
Releases Worldwide: August 25th, 2017

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  1. Purchase a license after 40 days? We’ll see about that.
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  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    GOD, NO.

    • Master of Muppets

      No God-cores, no Muppet Masters.

  • Grymm

    The drummer has been in the ocean for most of the video, and yet no one saved him or even cared.

    It’s like the band was going, “Hey, what happened to the sick breakdown part? Where did that wave come from? Pete? PEEEEEEeeeeeeEEEETE?! Hmm… *bassdrop*”

  • Master of Muppets

    Excellent review, Kronos. It’s good to have you back. As a Godless Metal Guy with a Flyleaf tattoo, I fully understand that the music comes first (I also have a Music ambigram tattoo, go figure) and would have jumped into it with an open mind…
    …only to jump out with a head full of shit. Nothing innovative here, and I don’t hear the passion that makes true devotional acts sound so alive. Faith is another facet of human emotion and can often breed music which transcends the audience’s own beliefs with its heartfelt intensity, just not here.
    I also wholeheartedly support any shout-outs to Départe, that album was the spark that set me burning up all of my money in the name of music. Hadn’t bought so much as a CD in years, but I needed to have a physical manifestation of that masterpiece, so I ordered my very first vinyl just to have the added rarity element… I’ve bought at least a vinyl or two per week since discovering Failure, Subside here, plus countless digital downloads. My music library is fucking massive now, almost all of it being legally purchased with a physical product to have as well – I’ve had to delete almost everything I’ve pirated just to make room for this years’s purchases alone… This site had restored my faith in metal years ago, but that particular find completely changed my music intake for the infinitely better, so for the millionth time to AMG at large, thank you fuckers for being you.

    • Kronos

      I’m glad to have turned you on to Departe. That album is brilliant, and I’m happy to see it’s led you all this way. My apologies to your wallet.

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        Band is ridiculous live too, seen e’em three times now and I can’t get enough. Yet to find a hidden gem to usurp its AOTY status for me.

        • Master of Muppets

          I was never envious of Australia until Ulcerate and Départe became things. Further research revealed that you bastards are churning out the wickedest of black metal demons, and now I’m desperate to acquire the secret powers of the land down un-
          Holy shit, I figured it out. Australia is Hell on earth.

          • Kronos

            Hope Drone.

          • Master of Muppets

            Love ‘m, didn’t even realize they were Australian but I can’t say that I’m surprised. “The Waves Forever Shatter Against the Shores” is one of those tracks I’ll just loop on its own for hours.

          • Thatguy

            Maate…everything is good about Australia except the bits that are not, but Ulcerate are from New Zealand and we can’t claim them unfortunately. Portal though, come from Brisbane I believe, like Hope Drone.

          • Master of Muppets

            Well then. I shall check out Portal post haste, and cease attributing false glory to the Koala Kingdom by way of Ulcerate affiliation.

          • Thatguy

            I wore my Hope Drone T-shirt with pride on my recent overseas travels.

      • Master of Muppets

        I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d completely lost touch with what it means to be a fan, blindly gobbling up everything online just cuz it was there and largely forgetting about pretty much all of it. The instant gratification of illegal downloads is tempting, sure, but there’s just something about actually owning it all that changes the whole dynamic and gives my collection worth. Between knowing I’m directly supporting the artists and having something I can hold and admire along with the music, it’s so much more fulfilling to be patient and broke than it is to arbitrarily download everything simply because it’s there. I’ve easily paid more money and downloaded less albums this year than any other, and it’s still already been the best year for my library bar none. My wallet and I forgive you.

      • Name’s Dalton

        Departe is incredible.

        • Master of Muppets

          I’ve never heard anything utilize guest female vocals as perfectly as “Wither”, that band is ahead of everyone. And “Ruin”? My God. That album is 666% unfuckwithable.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Every time you pirate, god kills a kitten. Rum, beer, quests, and mead on the other hand….

      • Alexandros

        Alestorm must then be the cause of the kitten genocide that has been going on for a couple of years now!

    • Nukenado

      I fully agree.
      I just recently bought my first record (yes I’m a dirty Chinese pirate), and I squealed like a goddamn Justin Bieber fangirl.
      There’s just something satisfying about owning a record that you can’t find from pirating.
      I don’t have a source of income yet so I’m probably not going to be able to buy as much as you did, but I’m sure as hell glad I’m able to start.

      also, thanks AMG for making me want to kill my wallet

      • Master of Muppets

        See, I’m worse. I survived the 90’s days of homemade mixtapes – actual cassette tapes, not mp3’s – and spent any money I acquired during my Angsty Metal Teen years on CD’s; I once knew better, but I got lazy. I forgot the face of my father, but the wisdom of AMG has guided my heart and made my aim true once more, and I say thankya.

        • Nukenado

          Ah, cassettes. I’m not olde enough for those, sadly.

          • Master of Muppets

            You aren’t missing anything, it blows my mind that the fuckin things are somehow becoming cool again.

          • Nukenado

            “Retro” is apparently the new modern God.
            Past = good I guess.

          • [not a Dr]

            Even nostalgia was better back in my youth.

          • Nukenado

            I remember when I first started to remember.

  • Septic

    I focused in on the first word of your review…christian… “And lo and behold, mine eyes began to burn as though they glared upon the eclispse of days ago…”
    -Septic chapter 1 verse 1

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Christian music….the only genre defined by its lyrical subject matter.
    Who cares?
    It’s the music and talent of the band that matters to me.
    If I avoided all the artists that don’t share my personal opinions I would have a short play list indeed.
    And truth be told…..the death core label turns me off faster than the Christian one.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Seems Death Metal is a fairly accurate descriptor…

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        True….but death metal has a standard sound outside of its lyrical content that identifies it as such.

    • Master of Muppets

      Totally with you. “Christian ___” is just lazy tagging. I get why it’s an easy label, but as you pointed out it tells us nothing about the music. Same with Indie. Ultimately, it’s all about hearing and deciding for yourself.

    • AgonMcDuck

      As a label, “Christian” is probably the “organic”/”gluten-free”/”vegan” of the music world. They’re there for people who have certain restrictions for whatever reason, but just like the food labels say nothing about the taste, the genre tag tells you nothing about how the music actually sounds.

      [And inb4 someone says “mediocre”: I know a few decent Christian bands, and Theocracy (who are in a class of their own, honestly).]

      • Planex

        I have celiac disease and I can tell you right now, if it has the label gluten-free then it tastes mediocre and dry.

        • AgonMcDuck

          Well, as far as breads go yeah gluten-free just isn’t gonna cut it. I remember the pizza my mother (a usually stellar chef) made using gluten-free flour; the texture was sad. I do have a nice pack of gluten-free pretzels in the house, though. Granted, I haven’t touched them in a while because I’m cutting down my salt intake, but I remember them being pretty tasty. Really sorry you have to deal with these restrictions, though.

          (With that I’m tempted to just remove the gluten-free example altogether; even if it’s been hijacked by bullshit fad diets it is more a matter of life and death for people than GMO-free/organic/vegan.)

          • Planex

            That is the dilemma with the gluten-free fad. On one hand, the trendiness increases the exposure and awareness of gluten-free food. It is now significantly easier to go to a restaurant and order food without getting sick. On the other hand, if people think it’s a fad diet, they won’t care enough to make sure that something is actually gluten-free when they say it is. I once ordered something gluten-free at a restaurant and it came out with bread on top. When I complained that there were breadcrumbs all over my food, they took it back into the kitchen, took the bread off, and brought it back to me.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Extol come to mind as well.

    • tomasjacobi

      Its not a genre, it’s a description of the lyrical content the same way “viking metal” is.
      At the top of my head I can think of both black metal, folk metal and death metal bands that are all labelled “viking metal”.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        That’s a good point.
        Viking Metal is across the spectrum too…..I guess Pirate Metal as well.
        My point was that it’s unfair to Christian metal bands that they seem to be labeled as inferior due to their lyrical content often before the play button is even pressed.
        Whereas with almost all other metal artists this isn’t an issue.

        • tomasjacobi

          Sure but hey, life is unfair. I blame god for that :-)

    • Tobias Hasselwander

      Eh Christianity, Judaism or Islam as positive subject matter is probably one of the very few lyrical contents that could turn me off a Record/Band.
      As such I don’t mind the tagging just as with any other genre tagged by the subject matter.

      • Nukenado

        No Black Sabbath then…?
        That’s really harsh judgement.

        • Tobias Hasselwander

          I’m harsh like that :P

          • Nukenado

            You do you man.

  • IBlackened

    I don’t mind christian bands (i.e., Antestor), but I can’t say the same about Deathcore.

  • AgonMcDuck

    Idk, hardcore/metalcore/related genres seem to be the choice of genre for quite a few Christian artists. Underoath and Norma Jean to name a couple. I have a soft spot for Underoath, Norma Jean not so much.

    Also, Theocracy are head and shoulders above pretty much every other Christian metal band I know, and even every other power/prog band not named Symphony X. I love them.

    This track isn’t great. The lead tone is embarrassing, and the riffs are as soporific as most of this genre. At least it’s just three minutes.

    • Kronos

      Norma Jean has some pretty good stuff, I think they’re a good band. Steel Druhm is a pretty big fan of Theocracy as well. Goes to show that the music is really key.

      • AgonMcDuck

        Admittedly my first exposure to them was back when I was in a comedy -core band way back in 2006. I don’t hate Norma Jean, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not a huge fan either; the few tracks I know (“Memphis Will Be Laid to Rest” and “Cemetery Like a Stage”) didn’t do much for me then. I might be ready to admit I am wrong this time, though, because revisiting them now these are pretty solid. The lyrics are still downright cringeworthy–I mean I’m not one who objects to Christian references but some of them are just shoehorned in for the sake of making a Christian reference with no regard for fit or context (“Memphis…” is a particularly galling example of this).

        But Underoath, I still know all the words to “Writing on the Walls.” Haha. XD

        Ironically right now I’m looping “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer.” I’m not sure how I feel about The Satanist as a whole (I find myself zoning out a lot) but that and “O Father O Satan O Sun!” are fantastic.

  • welyyt

    Aside from the new FFAA, which is indeed great, what else would you consider deathcore that’s worth listening?

    • Ferrous Beuller

      Shadow of Intent – Reclaimer.

    • Kronos

      I second Ferrous here, and I’d add that the new Lorna Shore album, “Flesh Coffin” is very good. They play a sort of black metal influenced deathcore that still has the tropes but uses them well.

      • welyyt

        Shit, should’ve mentioned I’ve heard those; Reclaimer is amazing, but I feel like Lorna Shore often completely kill the momentum of the song in favor of a breakdown.

        But setting aside newer releases (of which I also enjoy the new Thy Art is Murder), I’m not that familiar with the genre except for the bands that went into prog/tech territories (The Faceless, Slice the Cake, Job For a Cowboy), but I’ve heard a lot of open chug bands that are quite boring. What would be on the list of essential deathcore albums, if there even is such a thing?

        • Master of Muppets

          The most essential deathcore albums are the ones you listen to instead of deathcore.

        • Kronos

          I can’t say I ever got deep enough into the genre in its heyday to make such a list. Hopefully another commenter can help you out.

  • The Akerstache

    There’s one severe problem I have with Christian rock & metal. There’s always this unwavering focus on making the music about Jesus, and throw the music to the side. Bands like The Devil Wears Prada, Skillet, and many more all put the focus on the lyrics, and the predictability of the music shows itself.

    However, that’s usually the case with the popular Christian bands. I’ve found plenty of great underground religious bands in my time, too bad these guys are with the latter, boring, insipid music.

    P.S. Want good Christian metal? Check out Hope for the Dying.

    • Nukenado

      Honestly, I wish more bands would focus on the lyrics as much as Christian bands do.
      I find B-movie Satanism, gore and dragons’n shit to be especially boring.
      Interesting lyrics gives your music an additional edge.
      I won’t be shouting along to TBDM’s The Window, but I’m surely going to be able to do that to Pyhrron.

      • Kronos

        I think the problem really is a lack of effort put into lyrics. This record’s lyrics are as full of tropes as the next Satan / pagan / nihilist record that will get reviewed here.

        • Nukenado

          Ah, well that’s too bad.

      • The Akerstache

        Really? I don’t know. Christian music works on such a simple, single scope very consistently. The Bible is an incredibly fascinating book, full of so many interesting tales. Yet every Christian band spouts the same thing, continual praise of Jesus, with nothing else in the religion taken into account.

        It’s the same thing as B-movie satanism, if Christian bands were willing to take the same care as say, Deathspell Omega, creating music that goes through they’re faith in explicit detail, that would be different. Instead I find they’d rather just praise Jesus and warn of Satan.

        Some of them really don’t give a damn about challenging people, instead they’d rather just write music that Christians can latch onto and call their own, and that’s how they sell records. By being the lowest common denominator and not challenging anybody. That’s why the music is so often also contrived and boring.

        • Nukenado

          I totally understand. There are many Christian bands that are simple preaching.
          I’m honestly thinking of Black Sabbath, but I guess they might not qualify as a Christian band to some.

          • The Akerstache

            Haha, my parents are conservative Christians. I love them to death, but they have some nutty beliefs. My dad and I got into a conversation about music during dinner about a month ago, and we somehow got to heavy metal. At this point my dad says something along the lines of “There are plenty of legitimately Satanic bands, like Black Sabbath.”

            So yeah, I’ve never thought much of them as far as being a Christian band.

          • Nukenado

            …………have they actually listened to After Forever?
            My parents, despite being Christians, are pretty chill about my music. They can listen to Black Sabbath no problem, and actually allow me to play Igorrr in the car.
            I have a totally non-brutal upbringing and I’m really happy for that.
            School sucks though when it comes to metal.

          • The Akerstache

            Definitely not.

            I remember about two years ago I asked for Opeth’s Blackwater Park for my birthday from my grandparents. My mom read the lyrics, and came to me crying because she was afraid that listening to it would make me depressed and kill myself. Ever since then I’ve hid my music from them, loading up on cds and vinyl for the past year and keeping it hidden throughout five drawers in my room.

            My parents are the kind of sheltering, anti-Harry Potter Christians that you hear about. They care a tad bit too much about keeping me away from any and all dissenting opinions, even if it isn’t really that bad, it’s just that they’re scared to let me discover anything they aren’t willing to understand.

          • Nukenado

            Ah… I have my sympathies for you.

  • Wilhelm

    I think the only thing worse would be Christian rapcore.

    • AgonMcDuck

      I still know all the words of “Youth of the Nation” and “Sleeping Awake.” Sue me.

      • Master of Muppets

        Man, my first concert ever featured Mushroomhead and Meshuggah, but it was a festival and I went there for System of a Down… And P.O.D., and I regret/apologize for nothing. I can listen to any of the aforementioned bands in the same playlist (and often do, for nostalgia’s sake) on the same day as a Zhrine or Hopsin binge. Variety, yo. It’s, like, the spice of life and junk.

        • AgonMcDuck

          True that, true that.

          Also, I just learned that Katy Perry was a backing vocalist on “Goodbye for Now.” Hot damn.

        • Kronos Sr.

          I’ll agree with variety being the spice. Once I get done listening to AMG reviews I turn to my portable hard drive with over 500 hours of music ranging from classical to Death Metal. I lean more towards hair bands tho.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    First time ever I stop reading a review after the first two words.

  • Thatguy

    This is musically painful on so many levels and the Band Photometer – yes, it’s back – says ‘look, we are nice boys despite making this devil’s music’ except it’s not – not devil’s music that is, but angsty crap.

    I do like the cover image though.