The Committee – Utopian Deception Review

The internet is a horrible, wonderful thing. During its early bloom, it was a wellspring for creativity, and the amount of flash movies and music freely shared across its many portals was a joyous, multi-colored fountain of foul language and fouler humor. Now that mega-corporations have paved the internet highways with the asphalt of targeted ads and misinformation, the digital utopia has become a divisive dystopia where that same creativity grows mainly in the cracks between the concrete. But its connective power still remains unabated, and The Committee is testament to that. It was certainly possible for a band whose members live scattered across Europe to exist,1 but it would surely be more difficult, possibly insurmountably so. Thus, The Committee represent the creative side of the internet in their inception, and the dystopian side in their lyrical themes.

These themes of conspiracy theories and Orwellian political structures are supported by a hefty black metal assault in the vein of Mgła. The songs are lengthy and serpentine, malicious melody coiling through a thick fog of pummeling drums. Despite its relentless approach, the songwriting is quite dynamic and the band never gets stuck on a single battle plan for long. A few standout moments are a sweet swing-rhythm section in “Awakening – Unimaginable,” grandiose riffs reminiscent of Primordial in “Infection – Sensible” and the excellent tempo shifts in the blackened death influenced “Harrowing the Sane – Popularization.” The latter specifically plays with some very imaginative bass during its deathly delicious bridges and it’s a dark joy to listen to.

The performances are excellent across the board. The drums display a ton of variety, from straight blasting to swing rhythms and driving gallops that set the tone for the array of angles the album expresses, and the guitars utilize expressive riffs with a dynamic range of styles, including some appropriately applied acoustics. Vocalist The Conspirator showcases a strong scream with commanding presence, which helps sell the lyrics. These are a strong point as well, exploring the state of the world and the effects of misinformation and growing inequality, ending with the prediction of a propaganda-led uprising of the downtrodden. It’s compelling material, and a good step above the average Satan worship.

For all its quality, though, The Committee struggle to truly crest the peak into real greatness, even though it feels like Utopian Deception just skirts along the outside of it. There’s not quite enough memorable moments in these tracks, not enough of those bridges, choruses or riffs that really make you jump up and go ‘fuck yeah!’ It’s a highly consistent album, with nothing to complain about and a lot to enjoy, but the sweet peaks are simply not high enough, though close they get. The production is not a boon in this regard either; though the master is more dynamic than your average black metal, the mix has a slightly muddy quality, which undoubtedly is meant to thicken the atmosphere but costs the band some definition in the instrumentation.

These minor snags aside, Utopian Deception is a sweet piece of atmospheric black metal. While its combination of thick murk, obliterating aggression and winding melodic threads is not a novel formula, it’s expertly written and executed with aplomb. The riffs are tight and gripping, the rhythm section an ebb and flow of searing intensity and driving, galloping rhythms, the screech of The Conspirator biting and immediate. With lyrical content fit for the modern world, particularly as its release coincided with the beginning of the riots across the USA, it is both eerily premonitory and a damn good album even when regarded in isolation. The Committee is one international collaboration that should remain on everyone’s radar.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Folter Records: Folter Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: May 29th, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. In this case, the band members are from The Netherlands, Serbia, France, Hungary and Russia.
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