Unearthly Trance – V   2 comments

Scheduled for release on the 28th of September on Relapse Records, this record doesn’t do much for me. It’s kind of a mediocre album, but still very good in it’s own musical niche I guess. There are tons of very good albums being released this year so far, so now I then I get the feeling, yes I like this, but chances are big I won’t play this record after hearing it a couple of times. The same goes for Unearthly Trance’s past releases – they gave a short kick hearing them for the first time, but right now I can’t name any specific albums let alone great songs from this band.

Not to say that this is a bad or a bore-some release, quite the contrary. All the elements are in its place: pummeling drums, growling vocals, heavy riffs, and an overall well-produced sound. Maybe the key things missing on this album are good songs: they don’t stick. The overall sound is typically Relapse so to speak: a tidy produced sound not unfamiliar to, say, Minsk or Rwake. Reviewing V, I think vocally the band could do a lot better. The vocals don’t fit the sound that well, and listening to this makes me wonder why so few bands dare to record albums without a vocalist. Bongripper’s latest – of which I can’t get enough – is one prime example of how to do this right: excellent riffs accompanied by a doomy sphere and wonderfully executed.

58 minutes is a long time, and I wonder what the effect would be if the band chose to split this album up in EP’s. The music is quite intense, so after little more than half an hour, I get the feeling that this is too much. Put simply: it’s more of the same. The accompanying information sheet tells us this about Unearthly Trance:

“UNEARTHLY TRANCE summons forth V; an electric, urban funeral drone and their most epic full-length to date. With V the trio has come full circle; combining the expansive leanings of ‘Electrocution’ and ‘The Trident’ with the sparing, brooding doom of their earliest works. UNEARTHLY TRANCE’s unwavering dedication to their principle’s and craft has yielded some of America’s best metal with V.”

It is epic indeed, but when I think of epic I think of epic doom like Realmbuilder and Manilla Road. Furthermore, I’d question if this is really some of America’s best metal. To be honest, that’s a bit of an overstatement.

To assess a random song, Sleeping While They Feast is a wild, roaming track that doesn’t ‘get’ anywhere. Granted, there’s a beginning and an end, but there’s no true building towards a catharsis or any other structure. Gives me the feeling that Unearthly Trance definitely know what a good song is, but that they can’t give a track that unique spin to make it truly memorable. Submerged Metropolis delivers more of the same, and I wonder what Unearthly Trance would look like and sound like live. Maybe the whole message of Unearthly Trance is its atmosphere, so I can imagine this being great in a live session.

Into A Chasm starts like a Neurosis track, but during the song I get the feeling that this is one big intro, with no real follow-up. It’s certainly not an intro to closing track The Leveling. I like this last song, because it’s more simple than the other tracks, more primal. Another highlight is The Horsemen Arrive In The Night.

Listen to this record carefully, and decide if you like it or not. I can imagine a lot of listeners would love this release.

6.5/10

Unearthly Trance Myspace

Review Written By Sandrijn van den Oever

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Posted August 19, 2010 by doommantia in Unearthly Trance

2 responses to “Unearthly Trance – V

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  1. This review is right on, the weakest thing they have done so far.

  2. Hi Tony, thank you! Still an okay album, but the 'problem' is also the huge amount of great doom releases this year so far, so I can't help but compare 🙂

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