Un – The Tomb of All Things

12119144_937126129693628_8958482856088575034_n

With both Idols and Samothrace members involved, the melodic, mournful qualities of Un’s Funeral horror comes as something of a pleasant surprise.

The sparse, shimmering beauty of ‘Epigraph’, the opening track from début album The Tomb of All Things (Black Bow), gives way to the Bell Witch-esque ‘Sol Marasmus’: not quite possessing the pulverising claustrophobia of that band’s gut-wrenching intensity but with all of their emotion, the atmospheric mid-point coming across like a Doom-laden Amenra with the tortured holler of Conan’s Jon Davis atop it. The surrounding textures are heavy and lamenting, contrasting Monty McCleery’s voice: a roar of nefarious depth which leaves used tar barrels everywhere shuddering in fear. Humming, lowing riffs rumble without the expected crush, yet the drop to the gentle coda is so sudden it is paradoxically deafening.

The chord progression opening ‘Forgotten Path’, meanwhile, is an utter reducer which invokes images of Dylan Desmond’s petrifying bass work, whilst the crash introducing a heart-rending melody awakens the listener from their cocooned stupor. Again, the descents into quiet introspection are as startling as the reanimation, which is occasionally quickened by Andrew Jamieson’s artful stickwork, yet always possesses the gravity of the saddest moment of your life. McCleery’s vocal is Ethan McCarthy-like in its fearsome power while the lead and rhythm guitars blend the inconsolable musicality of Pallbearer and Vulgaari with sinister overtones.

Those drums patter delicately across ‘Through the Luminous Dusk’, gorgeous post- melodies offsetting the guttural agony of the enveloping roars and screams. Whilst the overwrought soloing is occasionally more at home in a Rock ballad, Jamieson’s sticks, gradually increasing in power, maintain the track’s impact. The sumptuously mellow chords introducing the closing title track, however, regain that emotive quality and set the scene for some truly crushing riffs which are only augmented by that funereal pace.

Exquisite and poignant leadwork befits the closure of an album which, for the most part, balances perfectly its light and dark elements. A blackened scream takes us into an explosive, stirring finale and fully embodies the anger, pain and crippling sadness coursing through an affecting and memorable release.

 

8.0/10

 

PAUL QUINN

Twingiant – Devil Down

DD Front Cover (1)

 

I presume the name of this Phoenix rumbling machine is pronounced ‘Twin Giant’, rather than being some bizarre moniker for someone who suffers sudden painful episodes [you mean like Twinge-ee-unt? That’d be odd… Phonetics Ed]. A somewhat irrelevant point, you say? Maybe, but none more so than certain passages of its sophomore full-length Devil Down (Medusa Crush).

That said, there’s a neat line in southern-infused stoner here, with luscious, howling lead solos a la Vulgaari‘s Brett Hedtke to boot. Delightfully-named opener ‘Old Hag’ is a languid yet moody beginning, all ‘stoner meets The Doors-in-the-Mojave, the dust getting right into a grainy production which completely suits the feel, some seriously chunky riffs planting the coda deep in the sand. Former Black Hell vocalist Jarrod Leblanc’s whisky-soaked growl rails over the more up tempo ‘Dead to Rights’, which carries something of the bloated stodge associated with the genre but is enlivened by some fascinating lead and rhythm work. Meanwhile, some plundering bass work from Leblanc sets up the ripping ‘Daisy Cutter’, a barrelling pace combining 70s suvvern rawk with the inhospitable wastelands of a desert storm and a moody, howling centrepiece.

So, it’s not to say the album’s terrible, but the main accusation frequently levelled at this sort of stuff is that it too often sounds like an easy Sunday afternoon jam session at your local rock pub; a little lazy, like your lovable Dad with his middle-age spread (hiya Girls), and not a little dated. Despite some swelling riffs and crushing power, those deficiencies appear throughout the aptly-titled ‘Through the Motions’; while the jerky, Allman-infused ‘Under a Blood Moon’, despite occasionally stirring the emotions, threatens to get going yet never really makes it. In a disappointing ending, only a sludgy vocal and the brief explosion of a pounding riff rescue the closing title track from utter tedium.

That said, this does, at times, rip, those driving riffs sounding like a firing engine with groove-laden, trippy leads dancing all over ‘Tiger Lily’. It’s a warm, heavy sound which isn’t for everyone, but evokes welcome memories of days gone by and will certainly get a gasoline party going.

6.0/10

Twingiant on Facebook

PAUL QUINN