FFO: Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Perfect Circle
Perhaps as a consequence of North America`s universally applied and globally recognized approach to everyday philosophy, loosely defined by an emphasis on “quantity” over “quality”, the defining core pillars of modern metal have gone on to embrace a culture of excess, standardization of aesthetics and expectations. The foolish, inexperienced majority of youths pursuing counterculture have facilitated a never ending pursuit for acquiring new ways to cash in on shock value through lower tunings, faster blast-beats and increasingly more violent commitments to vocal cord shredding gutturals. Even as a fan, it is ridiculous for a genre or artist to put mass produce blandness, brief satisfaction as McDonald’s sandwich. Considering how uninspired this “Quality over quantity” food metaphor is, it is one that is familiar to absolutely everyone.
Which brings me to “The Unravelling”, a Canadian fusion of progressive metal song structure, and 90’s brand of ambient industrial, which places its spiritual stylistics close to yesteryear’s genre titans like Tool, Nine Inch Nails, and Perfect Circle, complimented by their self described “Dillinger Escape Plan’(s) refusal to compromise”.
Oh also, did I mention that Unravelling is a mere duo, comprised of the vocalist/lyricist Steve Moore and a single, multi musician, Gustavo de Beauville. It is this foreknowledge combine with The Unravelling’s actual music that sets itself miles apart from your average everyday rocker rabble. Case and point: their 2010 debut, “13 Arcane Hymns`, which at the time was widely acclaimed for its substance by dozens of prog- metal communities.
Despite being based out of distant city of Calgary and being forced into hiatus, due to Steven Moore being diagnosed with cancer, The Unravelling’s seminal debut is both a passionate dictation, as well as a fiery bludgeoning to one`s expectations, senses and the established counterculture status quo. In fact, The 13 tracks off of “13 Arcane Hymns“ don’t attempt to provoke your everyday visceral forms of fear by through some convetional showcase the most abhorrent sound and subject matter the band could muster. In fact, the songs` melodic structures are pristinely discernible, unsaturated and are coupled with the rarity of clean vocals. All in all this makes 13 Arcane Hymns harmonious and subtle but with a distinct, mid 90’s disdain for existence itself. One of the most on the nose,“ Anemia“-era Tool sounding tracks is “Becoming Chaos” ; in fact, the prophetic wailing-vocals and south American jungle tribe percussion pace and rhythm would almost be an unwelcome imitation, but Anemia is 20+ years old, has not had my undivided attention in years.In a similar fashion, Burning Chaos is also an excellent track on its own terms, whilst bearing an uncanny Tool resemblance, much like the familiar curves and contours of a spouse’s twin sibling.
Consider these two tracks but a brevity of nostalgia fondling; its really nothing more than a passing flirtation, as The Unravelling’s overall energy and direction is always fluid. By the time the album progresses to “Open Skull” , the general sound of influences will congeal into some weird merger of Ayreon, Perfect Circle and NIN, which will then be replaced in ”Last Night’s Protest” with a distinct early Selpultura-esque battalion breaching percussion and attitude, with Steve Moore sprinkling a hint of System Of A Down`s trademarked verse barking. Clean vocal gusto may dying a dying practice, but it definitely still deserves attention in its returning feature, as the anthem “Where Will It End” which sprouts atop of the fanfare of 90’s Nu-metal-esque riffs, chunky drop D triplets and a cacophony that I have come to know as Joey Jordison`s post-career spectre successfully achieving double bass based form of vengeance.
“13 Arcane Hymns “ is Steve Moore and Gustavo de Beauville’s portal into the an era of the past that seems to be too often ignored. While Steve does invigorating, revival and renegotiations trademarks, singing styles and vigour that is unique to another artists. He channels something long personal in anyone old enough to remember the 90s. It is Mr. Beauville’s ability to play and write all of The Unravelling recorded music. It is because of him that “13 Arcane Hymns” shines as an album, because Gustavo De Beaville is a visionary who builds worlds in, far out synthesiser fictions and keyboard harmonies on canvasses of industrial backgrounds.
For this particular reason, I recommend checking out my standout track on this album is the closer “Victory Song”. Instead of the bleak emotive of NIN/Faith No More origins, this particular track’s introductory chant of ascension is spiritually reminiscent of the infamous German Industrial / gothic pop group known as VNV nation.
Conspiracy? Definitely. Well… definitely maybe…
See for yourself on the full 13 Arcane Hymn‘s full upload on Youtube:
If you enjoyed this album as much as me, check out The Unravelling’s seond album’s full release on April 15, 2015.
You can check out their new single at Bandcamp:
Watch the Music Video for “Move Forward Until You Are Dead Here”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xfja5FUlR9k