Tuesday, 22 October 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Unfurl, "The Waking Void"

By: Eeli Helin

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 20/09/2019
Label: Independent

”The Waking Void” CD//CS//DD track listing:

1. Ancestral Spirit
2. Ritual of Fire
3. Null
4. Post-Modern Prometheus
5. Void
6. Withering Aeons
7. Black Widow Hourglass
8. Lazarus Reflex
9. Begrudging Lucidity
10. Guest of the Cavern/Mind Altar
11. Blue Rose

The Review:

Unfurl are one of those bands who are flying under the radar way too fluently while they'd deserve all the attention possible from bigger and smaller medias. Their debut full-length "The Waking Void" was released on September 20th and the buzz started only afterwards, given that it's reasonably increasing constantly. Struggling to get press is pretty much a standard today, but it's bands like this that makes all that seem very unfair; after all, "The Waking Void" is amongst the better albums of the year, and one hell of a debut that came from nowhere.

Having enthusiastic music nerds as friends is a benefit, that proved to be worthwhile with this release as well. After being directed to this album by the #lord himself, it proficiently stole my undivided attention for days. "The Waking Void" is a voluble mix of blackened and partly noisy death metal with shoegazey and mathgrind leanings. One of the most interesting creations on the record are the shorter, noisy and mostly electronic tracks scattered throughout, offering brief pauses and moments of ease amidst the intense battering. While the inclusion of such seemingly minuscule tracks might feel out of place at first, they end up being very integral for the narrative of the entire album.

Apart from the interludes, the heart and soul of "The Waking Void" obviously lies in the main tracks. The beating starts on the second track "Ritual of Fire", showcasing the high compositional level and underlying tones quite well right from the beginning. "Post-Modern Prometheus" carries you away into the noisier, black metal-esque end of the spectrum and holds within one of the most breathtaking breakdown of this decade. The production atmosphere is like a tightening grip, but doesn't turn suffocating as the organic feel is cherished with precision and thought. A short intermission leads the listener to "Withering Aeons", grooving like a motherfucker all the way through to what is perhaps the greatest surprise on the album.

"Black Widow Hourglass" is a moment of pure mourning, expressed through clean vocals and guitars, textured with ambient washes and floaty drum beats. Flowing straight into "Lazarus Reflex", this pair represents the band in their best, weaving a plethora of wildly different flavours into each other seamlessly. It's soon obvious that with these tracks, Unfurl kick in a whole new gear. While the first half had it's own strengths, the latter is where the band relies solely on their personal expression, finding a whole new kind of coherency and momentum to themselves.

Towards the end, the tracks progress into more diverse and fascinating ones, and by the time the final piece "Blue Rose" is over, you'll find yourself wondering why Unfurl aren't on every single metal enthusiast's or music journalist's lips, why an album of this caliber was released independently, why you haven't heard about them before. As futile as those questions are by now, they still bear a meaning in today's music industry, underlining the fact that without heaps of green and direct connections to certain persons of interest, a lot of amazing music gets buried underneath the rubble. We can only hope that this kind of material finds its own audience, preferably sooner than later.

”The Waking Void” is avialble HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook