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 combined with The Unravelling’s actual music that sets itself miles apart from your average everyday rocker rabble. Case in 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 the 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 song work on 13 Arcane Hymns doesn’t attempt to provoke your everyday visceral forms of fear through the conventional showcase: the most abhorrent sound and subject matter the band could muster. In fact, the songs’ melodic structures are pristine and discernible, unsaturated, 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 and has not had my undivided attention in years.In a similar fashion, ‘Becoming 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 fondling nostalgia; 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 Sepultura-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 be 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 Nü-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 an era of the past that is too frequently forgotten. While Steve boasts invigorating, revival and renegotiations trademarks, singing styles with vigour unique to other artists, he does so channelling something long personal in anyone old enough to remember the 90s. Mr. Beauville’s ability to play and write all of The Unravelling recorded music displays an array of musicianship that many will spend a lifetime trying to achieve. It is because of him that 13 Arcane Hymns shines as an album, because Gustavo De Beauville is a visionary who builds worlds in far out synthesizer fictions and keyboard harmonies, on canvasses of industrial backgrounds.
For this particular reason, I recommend checking out my standout track on this album, “Victory Song”. Instead of the bleak emotive of NIN/Faith No More origins, this 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...
If you enjoyed this album as much as me, check out The Unravelling’s second album’s full release on April 15, 2015.
Watch the Music Video for “Move Forward Until You Are Dead Here": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xfja5FUlR9k
Review by: Alex Slakva
Edited by: Martin Graves