Unfold And The Colossal ‘Banshee O Beast’.
Switzerland is known for many things from banks to watches, historic mercenaries to a meeting of cultures and beyond. I am likely missing more than a few but there is one more that I can remember, one of importance, specifically so in regard to natives Unfold and that would be riffs; lots of them.
The band formed in 1996 and since then over a slow by steady stream of releases, have returned to Division Records to release their latest titanic and colossal effort in the form of Banshee o Beast. Here the band that can’t decide whether or not they are either hauntingly dark in Metal or Hardcore Punk decide not to decide but rather to straddle the two.
Still with me? ‘Honor The Traitors’ takes a cumbersome Post-Metal structure permeated with aggressive and equally weighted Hardcore. Notably the band take the more progressive avenues of Metal music into their arsenal rather than the token breakdowns and repetitive contemporary Metal and Metalcore gratuitousness.
‘Admirals Dissono’ greets you with classic Punk drumming with the progressively toned guitar no less haunting than you’d expect before more discordant distorted vocals increase the intensity that doesn’t fade into to the slower, quieter refrains designed to break up the rage. The band’s rhythms here cross into Refused-esque Post-Hardcore territory leaving with nothing but uneasiness and an ironic desire to keep listening.
The band ensnare you with tempo until you are knocked flat and pin you with their progressive, soaring creschendos and crushing heaviness. ‘Cursed Commanders’ does this particularly well as you transfixed by the sheer aggression accosting your hearing and the constant contrast between the high-pitched haunt of the guitars and the low-riding contempt filled bass.
The band in their own words attempt to show you how melodies would sound within the fires of hell and on many counts I would mark that a success. ‘Hex Heyday’ is perhaps both the token example of such and one of the highlights (darklights?) of the release.
Mid-album you find yourself asking if Banshee o Beast is to become anymore unrelanting or dark and callous and you answered with the instrumental, more classic Post-Metal tinged interlude ‘They Had Wolves In Their Eyes and Knives In Their Mouths’, where as much as it could be the soundtrack to your favourite horror film, you wonder at it’s end if you are actually in the film yourself and the big reveal (death) is around the corner.
‘Night Ride Death Touch’ is not only perhaps one of the best song titles I’ve read this week but also sounds skin to a Post-Metal version of Sludge Metal Hardcore Punk bruisers Black Tusk. The longest track on the release, it’s also perhaps the most immersive and seemingly transcends its 6:57 time-stamp.
‘Aussitôt dit aussitôt mort’ see’s the band vocally accosts your by now temporarily damaged but well-ensnared hearing with their constant contrast between their cleanest and utmost sheer rage. In fact, the vocal output of this band is so suited to their musical backing that even those who adhore heavy music will likely completely fail to be unimpressed for Unfold are the sonic equivalent to weight of the world on the shoulders of Atlas.
‘Felony Works’ makes more use of Spoken Word samples and increasing melodic, Black Metal leaning guitars alongside Post-Hardcore structures and general progression so much in fact that you are ready for next release even before this one has ended. ‘Felony Works’ is another album choice cut and a break from the enjoyable but gratuitous rage.
Ending with the ominious titled ‘Havoc Assemble’ Unfold close more inline with their more tamed sound within the context of themselves of course, enough so that when they do in fact fail to confine their darkest and heaviest explosive anger one last time, its the perfect way to close such a beast of an album.
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