07 May 2009

The Unravelling

Any band that can say in one sentence that an array of artists like Dead Can Dance, Tool, and Opeth inspire them gets my attention right away. Hailing from Calgary, Canada, the Unravelling is slated for an album release later this year (“13 Arcane Hymns”); the band is composed of Gusavto De Beauville (guitars, bass, drum programming, synths, engineering) and Steve Moore (lyricist, vocalists). In this collaboration, there is a ying-yang thing happening, as Gus is described as being a “consummate, ethereal dreamer,” while Steve is the “more grounded in-your-face realist.” Under other circumstances this disparity in personality traits may lead to deadlock in producing music, it seems to be the what fuels the urgency of this band.

(Art work by Gusatvo De Beauville)

Gus, the multi-instrumentalist, spent most of 2007 composing the material that would become “13 Arcane Hymns.” He would meet Steve, a member of both Post Death Soundtrack (electro-industrial) and Inner Surge (metal) (not to mention running the company Overthrow Promotions), in the fall of 2008. Soon the completion of composition and then recording would occur.

Here are three of their songs I would like you to really listen to: “Victory Song,” “My Resignation,” and “Last Rights Protest.” (These songs are posted with the band’s permission. If you are interested in their music, visit their sites, links below.)

Create a MySpace Music Playlist at MixPod.com

Let’s talk about that ying-yang thing now, the counterbalance between the ethereal and in-your-face. The one thing that has hit me about all of these songs, in fact all of their catalogue that I have listened to, is that none of the songs try to overpower you with sheer power, nor are they sleepy lullabies to drown you into lethargy. Instead, the ethereal is made concrete before becoming mundane, while the in-you-face is tempered before becoming cliché. Take “Victory Song,” with an ethereal opening, sort of hinting towards a softer song, but the beat will drop, and that sort of gothic-industrial sound, which so many b-rate goth metal bands are trying to achieve, is delivered to perfection. Throughout the entire song, both aspects of the ying-yang play back and forth, keeping the listener on his/her toes.

“My Resignation” is similar in approach, but not in texture. It does not reach the pace of many of their other songs, but what the song creates is anxiety and urgency. From the careful arrangements between singing and screaming, to the play on the different beats, this is one of those songs that wants to explode in your face, but never does. And that is where the power is. It gives you enough to want more, and keeps you wanting more – a very hard feat to accomplish. (Considering the theme of the song, it is a perfect approach.) Then there is “Last Rights Protest.” Overtly there is a feeling that this song abandons any etherealness, until you hear the sophisticated vocal arrangements, using his voice as an instrument. What I really am feeling about this band is that they are not the run-of-the-mill cliché, screaming their ass off for over thirty-minutes sort of band (though I am looking forward to a chaotic mosh pit). There is definitely more attention to detail in the song writing and arrangement than most bands out there. But if that does not impress you, click below.

“In the Safe House” from the Overthrowpromotions YouTube Channel.

“In the Safe House” takes you into a completely different direction. With vocal harmonies that reminds me of the Brit pop and shoegazing of the early 90s, acoustic elements, and pop sensibility, this proves that De Beauville and Moore can write anything they want to. They have chosen, though, not to give you a listening experience of safe, cliché, radio friendly music, but rather have chosen a specific direction in their song writing, because they have something to bring to the table that is different and distinct. Just these four songs alone are making me anxious to hearing the final product, “13 Arcane Hymns.” This is the kind of song writing that has the potential to expand genre.

I am reminded by something that Alison Moyet (yeah, I know, completely unrelated to this, but keep reading) said. She alluded to the fact that music has a natural course from conception/song writing, recording, and then live performance. All considered, she hit the nail right on the head, and I have also become anxious to see this band take it on the road.

Keep up with The Unravelling at their homepage (join the mailing list) and MySpace.
Also, keep up with Overthrow Promotions.