Tag Archives: Alex Slakva

THE UNRAVELLING “13 Arcane Hymns” [2010]

5 May

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


Sarah + 1, A Tribute To Sarah Vaughan: A Trip Through Time By Toronto’s Delilah

10 Apr


Contrary to most Cultures, Canada is vocally proud of its multicultural roots and global identity. Despite the fact that most of us (Canadians) are generally in agreement with this statement, even the residents of Residents of Toronto frequently refer to their city as a “cultural melting pot”. While this isn’t an inherently mean spirited statement, it is uttered with far more frequency when its context is something akin to any pair of historic European arch-enemy factions, who share a community during FIFA.

Too many people seem emphasize “melting”, when the important part’s “cultural”. Visionary artists, such as Delilah, have an innate understanding that the aforementioned melting pot metaphor works both ways.


The promising Toronto Jazz songstress lay’s down such a performance on her 4 tack EP,  “Sarah + 1, A Tribute To Sarah Vaughan” that it is easy to miss the subtext behind her personal life and personal inspirations. Delilah began her singing career when she was 10, and continued to purse her songstress ambitions after she moved to Canada when she was 19.

Regardless of how versed one may be with Steve Tyrell or Tony Bennett, there is something captivating about Delilah’s particular style of singing, which reflects likes a mirror off of the underlying, smooth, background piano and saxophone support.  For example: “September Rain” is as refreshing as a summer morning jog, where Delilah’s siren singing chimes in as sweet as a pure spoon of sugar.


“Just Friends” follows up with a slower, sober sounding melody. The bleak lyrics of this song may appear as if they were written in a teenager’s journal, which may mislead some tough guy listeners (such as myself, obviously) to scoff under their breath during the initial play through. After a few repeat, attentive listening, however, Delilah’s crestfallen brand of bitter-sweet chiming narration  begins to make one reach whatever poison they use to keep their emotional stitching numb and tightly done up.


The next track, “Whatever Lola Wants” is the titular cover of the Grammy award winning jazz singer Sarah Vaughan. While this 1955 classic has much iteration, Sarah Vaughn’s version was immortalized by her trade mark sassy stylization matter-of-fact-pace that soars over the supporting back up brass and drums. What makes Delilah’s modern adaptation of Vaughn’s culturally engrained style seems to be more of a theatrical statement. Instead of recreating Vaughn’s almost minimalistic approach, this track goes for a grander approach, with livelier percussions and brass backdrops over a particularly sultry and sensuous re-definition of “Whatever Lola Wants…. Lola gets… You’re no exception to the rule… I’m irresistible you fool…”

“Smile” is may or may not be Delilah’s most immediately representative song on this record, but is inarguably the track with the lengthiest amount of relevance to western art’s history. While the timelessly positive lyrics and titular subject matter were originally authored and added by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons in 1954, the original musical composition was written in 1936, by none other than Charlie Chaplin. This intimidating history is definitely well handled and adapted by Delilah to be in context with her style, on-stage persona and the intended message. The backing harmony of piano chimes, blasé strings and enduring percussions really personify the bitter-sweet atmosphere of the song. But when Delilah’s slow, soothing voice enters the mix, it really turns into something powerful, like an antidote for avenoir, exulansis, altschmerz and all of the other obscure sorrows.


It really pays to consider the songstresses’ aforementioned personal origin story, as makes both the context and authority in “Smile” personal and knowledgeable. Both of those truly artistic agencies that force the listeners to even temporarily re-frame or question the self a not only a reflection to Delilah’s craft, but a testament to the “cultural” melting pot that permits such depth and vigour, even from music that was composed half a century ago.

As a youth culture that is broadly defined by the trends it pursues, few artists incentive or interest to explore the truly remarkable chapters of own history, let alone attempt to interpret their significance for others. Delilah’s “Sarah + 1, A Tribute To Sarah Vaughan” is not only a perfect representation of the musician, but of how a dedicated perspective of the seminal individuals and genres can be written to raise new interest from those outside of the modern niche.

Check out more of Delilah’s music: