In 2011, The Unravelling’s lead vocalist, Steve Moore, was diagnosed with cancer and spent the next year and a half in surgery and recovery; his collaborative partnership with Gustavo De Beauville, the project’s founder and instrumentalist, thus went into a hiatus. The duo had just released their acclaimed debut-full length album “13 Arcane Hymns”, an album that was called an “emotional and industrial-infused metal masterpiece”, and could’ve easily folded under the immense weight of Moore’s diagnosis. Instead, De Beauville honed his production skills during this time and now, after Moore’s recovery from cancer, The Unravelling are back and more focused than ever. Enjoy our review of The Unravelling’s sophomore, ten-track release “Tear A Hole In The Collective Vision”, below.
‘The Hydra’s Heart’ opened The Unravelling’s second album “Tear A Hole In The Collective Vision”with an attention-grabbing introduction; the guitars sound excellent and are backed by industrial drums. The performances here are solid, the vocal performance impressive as well. The production and recording quality are both excellent, too. The broken-down chorus features a new electric guitar lead that is soon replaced by more intense vocals in the second verse. The guitar’s tone is excellent throughout and backing and harmony vocals in the bridge add depth. The instrument and vocal performances throughout are without error; everything about the recording seems calculated. ‘Lucky Me’ then enters with heavier, crunchier guitars, chords instead of single-note riffs and urgent, passionate screamed lyrics. Again there are industrial influences in terms of the percussion tones chosen; the song’s title is reinforced throughout the song via the main melody, the most memorable section of this track. There is room for further sonic development on ‘Lucky Me’, as the song is more bare bones than fully explored. The inclusion of natural drums on top of the electronic percussive elements already used would’ve been an intelligent inclusion here (as well as on ‘Out Of the Depths’ and ‘Revolt’). ‘Tear A Hole In the Collective Vision’, the title track, opened hauntingly; Steve Moore first whispers with tension and urgency in his voice before screaming in the chorus overtop an electric guitar lead. It’s evident immediately this song has lots of potential. Broken down verses feature backing vocals here and there, leading nicely into the second chorus, one that is a bit bigger than the first due to palm-muted chugs from the guitars and snare rolls from the drummer. The final note of the main progression’s dissonance was musically-pleasing, too. Overall, though, the song doesn’t reach its peak. It never gets to its highest potential, largest section, or highest note. It’s a tease, really; the song built and built, especially during its close, but never reached maximum capacity. It’s a shame, as the song is well-written and could be vastly improved with minor adjustments. ‘Out Of the Depths’ follows with additional huge-sounding, industrial electronic drums; the melodic lead guitar part works well overtop these futuristic sounds. A big second chorus features screaming and pounding drums accompanied by a new progression from the guitars: there is passion and urgency, again. The doubled vocals in the second chorus was a nice touch and leads into the pre-chorus section very well. Tasteful, melodic lead guitar parts are added later in the song, too; this song is produced very well. ‘The Fearless Seed’ has an intriguing intro, highlighted by a pulsating synth and eerie vocal harmonies. An electric guitar later cuts through in the choruses. The vocals parts are performed especially well here, too as Moore makes fluid changes between each note all the while. Production-wise, this track is simplistic, but its captivating storyline kept reeling me in. Parts that are broken down even further and centered around appealing, engaging electric guitar parts close the song well. ‘Enough Is Enough’ opens with an awesome drum groove and a crushed synth melody. The vocal performance in the verses is different, making this a bit of a departure from previous tracks. The chorus vocals are again performed well and contain a whole lot of emotion; the melody sung is a spectacular decision, too. ‘Enough Is Enough’ is the shortest track on the album but is around long enough to allow Moore to again showcase his range and vocal fluidity.
‘Master Drone’ features warbling followed by heavy rhythm guitars. This is the most straight-forward introduction we’ve been presented with so far. The verses are strong, featuring interesting, captivating lyrical content performed by excellent lead and backing vocals, along with crunchy guitars. Later, a bridge section introduces a new guitar riff and drum pattern, followed by a final chorus and one of the better, more intelligent endings on the album. The first half of each chorus could be improved and fully developed upon to make this one of the better tracks on the album; as such, there is a bit more to be desired. The chorus lyrics, as well as Moore’s phrasing, could’ve both been improved; the song visibly has stronger verses than choruses. There is a single-note melody in the choruses, though, that is quite appealing. An electric guitar lead hangs in the background, supporting the soft(er)-spoken vocal performance on ‘No One’s Song’. An excellent piano lead also enters, soon followed by a haunting, urgent synth pattern. The less intense choruses work here, and the vocal phrasing by Moore is much improved. The song, which is broken down from the beginning, is another welcome departure from previous offerings. Harmony vocals offer support and the drums sound very good here. They are much too far back in the mix, though, and should be featured more prominently. The hard-hitting opening percussion of ‘Revolt’ jars listeners back; another heavy guitar pattern is featured early on, interspersed with deep lyrical content. Again, a softer chorus works here, even though the verses are larger dynamically. This is one of the better songs, overall, on the record; hard-hitting latter sections of the song showcase Moore’s vocal aggression, while the verse vocals, which are almost whispered in the choruses, prove finesse and fragility. Again, this is another number that could’ve benefitted from natural drums on top of the electronic percussion. ‘We Have No Problems’ closes the album; it is much quieter, volume-wise, than previous tracks, seeming to lack the mastering that the other nine recordings underwent. When adjusted, the introduction is found to be intriguing and of their typical approach, featuring heavy guitars and brazenly aggressive vocals. The verses are strong, as are the intelligent, fluidly-played guitar lines from De Beauville. While the drums do sound good in choruses, they are almost lifeless in the first verse and are too overtly simplistic throughout the song. There is a whole lot to like about the song, though; this strong, aggressive closer is a fitting way to end an album of such a nature. The album, production-wise, leaves more to be imagined and desired; the skeletons of the songs are there, now they need to be further developed. This is, in a lot of respects, a very impressive work, one that could be made more grandiose with additional instrumentation and further renderings of creativity (in terms of production value). There is room for slight vocal improvement on a couple of the tracks, but overall the vocal performances from Moore are outstanding, exceptional, really. Additionally, at different times, the drums were far back in the mix; the dynamics of a few songs proved strange as well, with them ending just when it seemed they were picking back up. The instrumentation throughout the album, though, is completely solid. Again, this is a very well done project featuring excellent instrumental and vocal performances throughout, a release that bodes fortuitously for The Unravelling as they begin work on new material.
Connect With The Unravelling:
Listen to the new album at the Bandcamp link: https://theunravelling.bandcamp.com/
Visit the band on Facebook here (They have gained over 25,000 followers in the last 3 months): https://www.facebook.com/theunravelling
Watch their music video “Move Forward Until You Are Dead Here” on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xfja5FUlR9k