Utopia Banished

Utopia Banished Enslain Magazine Issue #8
Though they may have the same name as a Napalm Death song, Utopia Banished sounds nothing like them. Actually, this New York group sounds disturbingly similar to Subterranean-era In Flames. Yes, of course this is a good thing, and it's about time Americans proved that we know melodies too. And considering the lack of production quality, they still manage to sound great doing it. The leads are playful, and the rhythm stays tightly with it, and the occasional blast-beats give the songs character. Their vocalist sounds very similar to how Mikael Stanne used to, which also adds to the In Flames resemblance. This tape begins with a long keyboard intro that I would find myself rewinding and relistening to, but the quality of the rest of the songs keeps me from needing to do so. Some riffs sound like they were taken right off from 'Behind Space', but even in the more original moments, I can't help but note the Strömblad influence. Again, I think what they're doing is great, and I'll be watching this band's progress, but I'd like to see them grow and establish an identity of their own. -- Lady Enslain