| UNDER A TORN SKY.
FORGOTTEN SCROLL (GR)/DOOM-METAL.COM(NL).
Original link: http://www.forgotten-scroll.net/review.php?act=s_rev&id=479&rev=Countraven
It is really hard for me to start writing a review about Unsilence. A better case would be to dive in the gloomy ocean of their music once more leaving all kind of reviews behind. But there is a new album out and there are really some things that should be written about this band letting those who are still unaware of their grey musical world of Doom, to simply enter the magic
It has been written by me in the past that there is something really special that the Doom Metal bands from United Kingdom carry in their music. In a very strange way they manage to capture their lands gray and rainy background into their songs. Well the main band that made me to start thinking and analyzing this theory is Unsilence.
Almost three years has passed since the release of their Echoes Awaken demo which was actually a re-presentation of the band after the lineup changes that found vocalist Andrew Hodson leaving the vocal slot that soon was filled by the second guitarist of the band James Kilmurray who also became the singer of Unsilence. Those who have spent some time listening carefully this demo understood that there was a flood of insparaiton in those songs and that the line up changes brought to the foreground a band passionate enough to drive the listeners in a new melancholic journey. Time was needed for the final artistic vision to be completed and to finally come to life. The band finally made it: Under A Torn Sky is the third official release by those explorers of our hidden sorrows.
The album begins with The Last Day song which is already known from the Echoes Awaken Demo, it is mid tempo and blessed by those special narrative guitars that were always the big trademark of Unsilence. From the very beginning of the song the listener would realize that James vocals are capturing a very special kind of magic, driving the music of Unsilence into a big metamorphosis. His voice has lot of similarities with Andrews voice but it is the WAY that James sings every single lyric that makes him sounding so special. His carefully selected vocal melodies are the strongest feature of this album and they are here to haunt the listener from the very first minutes of this song which is also filled by magnificent lead themes and has a tragic final part of total Doom.
The Burning Midnight starts with one of those classic mid 90s UK Doom riffs, if we were back in 1994 the typical Death Metal vocals would be there to keep us some company but instead of those we are satisfied enough listening another narrative Unsilence guitar melodic theme filled by the vocals of James. This song keeps a hidden passion inside maybe due to the title or due to those fantastic lead guitar themes in the middle? Some more Doomy riffing follows and this voice again All those that claim to play Epic Doom Metal should deeply study the vocal melodies of this guy especially in the last minute of this song .
Transfiguration the title has nothing to do with the debut EP- is an apocalyptic Doom anthem mostly based on guitar melodies and leads and not that much in riffing-, a song that emphasizes the songwriting abilities of the band. I still got to find the angel or demon that James sold his soul to take back those vocal melodies .
Barricade was my favorite track from the Echoes Awaken demo and I suggest that someone should play this song on an attempt to introduce the band to people unaware of their music (ok you can add The Unknown from The walk through Oceans EP but we are now referring to the new album, right?). This is the most memorable song of the album has all the Unsilence features: Those narrative guitar themes and melodies, those attractive and sorrowful leads, this heavy riffing and this iron rhythm section created by drums and bass that emphasizing every single part of the song. Yes the vocals are here again to haunt you, have you already missed them? I also should not forget the ability of the band to deliver some great acoustic melodies like the one in the middle of the song that drives us on its next crescendo before another painted in black guitar melody.
The journey goes on to known places at least for a person that has spent the whole winter of 2006 listening to the Echoes Awaken demo-. Just close your eyes and let the introduction guitar and vocal melodies of the Echoes Awaken song to guide you. Yes narrative melodies. Are you still trying to understand the usage of the word narrative? Well only in the music of Unsilence I have the chance to listen melodies so deep and esoteric, melodies able to keep me focused just like listening to someone narrating a story. It is the music that speaks in the soul creating picture and bringing hidden emotions right in front the moonlight. Yes this is not music to be heard on daylight. I really do not know what to write about the Echoes Awaken song, I just left surprised after listening its final version. I never imagined that the band would make it sound so great. This is a real anthem, an Unsilence classic. It fully re presents the Unsilence musical spirit. I guess that a song like this is the main goal of the band: emotional and melancholic in an ecstatic and strange way. I think that the lead melody on the last part of the song (about one and a half minute before the end) would haunt me forever
Of What May Become carries a strange mystery in its melodies and it is this agony on James vocals that makes it so special Apocalyptic Doom Metal, heavy enough to be listened LOUD. The rhythm section rocks in this track. The song is followed by Hour Of Arrival track (also found on Echoes Awaken demo) which is probably the most complex song of the album. It begins with a wonderful acoustic intro before its first breaking -which in my opinion is one of the best parts of the song-. The song consists of many melodic themes both in vocals and guitars that are linked together with dark musical bridges and mysteriously attractive guitar leads.
The epilogue of the album belongs to the most Epic song of the album which is no other than Winds Of Enlightenment. A nine minute long opus that is based in long, heavy and deep melodies and riffs giving the space for the vocals to spread their own black light into the whole song. Attractive keyboards are there to emphasize the ideal epilogue of an album that would mark each one of us who would spend some nights listening to it. For one more time one of the best parts of the song is its very last minute: A big crescendo and then the final caress by the acoustic guitar and (yes you guessed right) the vocals.
Well that was all about the music. The production is very good and heavy enough doing justice to the songs and the album has the best cover in the so far Unsilence discography.
Well what else can I write? Kieron Tuohey and James Kilmurray with their magical guitars and vocals, David Eliot and Jonathon Gibbs on bass and drums of Doom have managed to release a great Epic Doom Metal record. But even the words Epic Doom Metal are small to describe the richness of the music that is hidden in this record . It is Epic, Ecstatic Sorrowful, Emotional, Heavy and Haunted. It is Unsilence.
Review by Count Raven. Email: email@example.com
DOOMED TO BE A STONED IN A SLUDGE SWAMP (ITALY).
Original link: http://sludgeswamp.blogspot.com/2009/10/mancunian-doooooom.html
Here we go with some sweet doom from the right side of the ocean: the last release from Unsilence, a great, unlucky, long-lived doom band from Manchester, UK.
The band is active since 1993 but had a lot of line-up changes. They released two demos in 1994 and in 1995, a full length debut album bound to be released in 1997 and then unreleased, the EPs Transfiguration in 2000 and A Walk Through Oceans in 2002, the demo Echoes Awaken in 2006.
The last release, the long-awaited debut full-length album Under A Torn Sky is out on the Austrian label PsycheDOOMelic.
The band did a lot of gig activity especially in UK, and they played with doom bands such as Mourning Beloveth and Warning.
I came to know this band by pure chance through the 2000 Transfiguration EP, and I loved it immediately. So I was happy to read about the new release and eventually to get the CD with my parcel last friday and its on loop on my mp3 player since then.
On the official webpage the band tags itself as epic doom. These guys play a charming, melancholic yet heavy doom where riffs are catchy and strong and vintage. I think that some acoustic parts recalling northern folkish melodies every now and then enhance that epic signature of the sound. Presently a stronger flow of melancholy is transmitted by the peculiar, almost dissonant voice of the singer / second guitarist James Kilmurray. Kilmurray replaced previous singer Andrew Hodson in the last two releases. I must say I was liking Andrew Hodsons beautiful voice a lot, however the two voices are somehow similar, and Kilmurrays peculiar voice adds some more sense of sorrow to the whole sound. Actually the vocal parts are quite prominent and, at least for me, also recall somehow sad chants and folk ballads.
I agree with what written by reviewer CountRaven in the forum of on www. doom-metal.com on British doom metal bands: in a very strange way they manage to capture their lands gray and rainy background into their songs. And one of the bands that may best adhere to this character is Unsilence.
Reviewer CountRaven did a very well done and rich review on this album and on this excellent band, and I invite those of you who have some interest in it, to read it here.
Anyway, this album includes tracks where rhythms vary between down- and mid-tempo and progression is blessed by those special narrative guitars that were always the big trademark of Unsilence.
CountRaven indicates the beautiful track Barricade as the most memorable song of the album and the one having all the Unsilence features: those narrative guitar themes and melodies, those attractive and sorrowful leads, this heavy riffing and this iron rhythm section created by drums and bass that emphasizing every single part of the song. Yes the vocals are here again to haunt you, have you already missed them? I also should not forget the ability of the band to deliver some great acoustic melodies like the one in the middle of the song that drives us on its next crescendo before another painted in black guitar melody.
Well, I hope I was able to convince you to give a listen to this great band if you dont know it already. Hopefully the unlucky periods for them are off!
Review by Marilena Moroni. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
LORDS OF METAL (NL).
Original link: http://www.lordsofmetal.nl/showreview.php?id=15293&lang=en
Unsilence is a band with a long history filled with set-backs. Albums that werent released because of labels folding, numerous line-up changes and so on. The band still is looking for a drummer but they are helped out by Jonathon Gibbs, who used to be a member of the band but now is active as a session drummer. In 2002 the mini A Walk Through Oceans and in 2006 a demo were released; and now finally their debut full-length of this English band saw the light of day.
Their brand of epic doom metal resembles a lot to the style of fellow British doomsters Solstice. Unsilence hasnt got the musical class Solstice has yet, but theyre coming close. When you dig epic doom metal you cannot ignore Unsilence.
Review by Pim Blankenstein. Email: email@example.com
HELLRIDE MUSIC (USA).
Original link: http://www.hellridemusic.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21540
This album was the recent subject of an interesting thread in the Hellride doom forum. There were some strong views expressed, and there were definitely differences of opinion. Personally, Im not quite on board with any particular view expressed there (excepting the drums being great, thats a slam dunk), but I will start by saying that this is an album that deserves to be talked about and, being no easy or immediate beast, is going to spark a fairly wide spectrum of responses.
I remember some of these songs from a previous demo. They showed high promise then despite being hampered by a far less than perfect production. At the time, I seem to remember a lack of oomph! To the guitars being the biggest problem. Well the production here is clear, powerful and professional, so the material gets to fully stand on its own merits. And there are merits here in abundance
Right from the unique and very well fitting cover art and into the first song The Last Day there is a palpable sense of professionalism. This is no throw together project. There is a depth and craftsmanship present that speaks to blood, sweat, and many hours going into this creation. Also right from the beginning of The Last Day there are factors that many doom heads will struggle with. With the professionalism comes a certain level of polish, that some are going to hear as less than fully metal. With strong personal emotion content in the lyrics, there are always going to be some risks. Warnings Watching From A Distance album, which was referenced in the thread, was an album that overcame those risks magnificently with tidal wave power and raw heart and soul. Under A Torn Sky is more detached, less immediate and a bit more finessed it comes from the heart, but is definitely controlled and channeled by the cerebral realms. The vocals in particular on a superficial listen sound a bit light and when joined with the somewhat swirling, less than lead heavy guitar, could have this mistakenly lumped in with the bloated goth with pretensions of doom brigade. No worries though, listen to the guitars tear in heavier just over a minute in, concentrate and glimpse the depth to the composition. This is definitely no poorly thought out escape my grotty bedsit with vampiric fantasy trifle. This has an epic depth and power, but it takes some effort on the listeners part to fully experience it. If this album was a book, it would be a hard read but well worth the effort to do so
Burning Midnight lays out the heaviness right from the gate musically. On first listen, like a lot of the album, I found myself wishing that the guitars were more up in the mix and struggling some with the vocals. On repeated listens and with closer attention paid (headphones at home as opposed to in the car) the guitars are right where they need to be, any higher and it would begin to bury the stellar job the rhythm section is doing and it begins to be hard to imagine the album with any other vocals than these. When it all begins to come together in the listeners ears (which requires rapt attention and high volume) it becomes apparent that this really special stuff stuff that can carry you away and shut out the rest of the world. There really arent other bands that sound like this. The closest I could come to a match would be Lamentations era Solstice colliding with Omegas The Prophet and the new While Heaven Wept, all shoved in the general direction that Warning headed in with Watching From A Distance. And let me be clear, Unsilence does not sound like any of those bands. That all only amounts to a rough territorial sign post.
The twists and turns of Transfiguration show this to be metal tinged by prog, not goth. Barricade manages to throw both the difficulty and the strength right in your face. The melody does not feel or sound very metal, yet it is an extremely strong melody. It has an almost uplifting feel at times, not something one would usually associate with doom, but there is a serious depth here in the soaring guitar lines intertwining with the vocal hook all over the not unsubstantial melodic rumble of the rhythm section. Echoes Awaken like all its disc mates is a significant compositional accomplishment .strong, textured, layered and almost lush is metal allowed to be lush? Im sure opinions will be all over about that as well as that being the correct term. This is not one for the rule books or for the metal purists. It is one for the adventurous aficionado of multiple genres, as evidenced by Of What May Become steering into sections of almost avant-garde jazz doom. The percussion work and the interplay between the rhythmic structure and the melody here are exemplary, making this one of my favorite songs on the disc. The Hour of Arrival bears an astoundingly memorable melody that could almost be something poppy slowed down and deepened slowed and deepened to the point of feeling very meaningful and carrying a sense of historical depth, all things that pop music is bereft of see what I mean about this being a difficult beast? By now, you are probably struggling to get a sense of how this sounds and Im certainly struggling with how to convey its sound.
Winds of Enlightenment isnt going to help either of us out in those struggles either. The guitars sound a tad rawer and more aggressive on this one and the whole song seems a few steps closer to traditional epic doom metal than its predecessors, but then about four and a quarter minutes in a there is a very heavy slowed down guitar led section of out and out doom that transitions so seamlessly into a vocal melody at the forefront/heaviness in the back ground section and right back into guitar driven immensity with great adventurous drum fills and there is something about the way that all this territory is traversed that is very untraditional, but very difficult to put ones finger on.
This album when given proper attention is stirring beast that provokes movement of the spirit and evokes a sense of the epic, but not in the usual battle glory, bang your head, skull crushing power vein of metal. Large rewards for those open and amenable to its charms. Those with little thought for genre boundaries and broad musical tastes would do well to investigate this just know that investigation will need to be done with investment this one will not reveal its treasure to the casual listener kind of like a high maintenance girl friend but one that if properly taken care of will blow your mind. Very deep, very well thought out, expertly executed but not easy and not commanding.
Review by Mike Ballue. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A FIRE ON THE SEA
A TORN SKY