The Unravelling - Tear a Hole in the Collective Vision
The industrial/metal crossover world has been waiting for The Unravelling’s return to lo these four years, since the release of their first album, 13 Arcane Hymns in 2010 and ultra-successful tour in 2011. It was a reunion that almost didn’t happen, however, as vocalist and lyricist Steve Moore fell ill and has spent these last four years battling cancer. When the duo reappeared in April this year with their new single “Revolt,” the underground music world heaved a collective sigh of relief that yet another rock and roll prodigy’s life was not cut short and waited for more releases from this talented duo.
other permanent member, producer and instrumentalist Gustavo DeBeauville saved
material for Moore's special brand of intense vocals and lyrical point-making,
and the duo were thus able to release material fairly quickly. “Master Drone” released
just last month, and with “Revolt” it turned out to be singles on The
Unravelling’s prodigal sophomore album, Tear
a Hole in the Collective Vision. This new album released on August 7 and is
seeing the duo pick up right where they left off. With Moore’s striking lyrics
and DeBeauville’s unique music and flawless production, The Unravelling are
poised to become the industrial/metal hybrid juggernaut they began to cultivate
in 2010 and 2011.
a surprising choice for a first release from The Unravelling, as it leaned much
more industrial than anything on 13
Arcane Hymns. It may have been released as a sort of shock treatment,
however, for fans who’d expected exact replicas of the work on the band’s first
album. It would also serve as a better watchword for the rest Tear a Hole in the Collective Vision than
the decidedly more metal second single, “Master Drone.” Though 13 Arcane Hymns earned rave reviews from
Metalsucks.com, Metal Insider and Metaldrone.com, an award for Best Album
Production at the 2010 Alberta Metal Awards and topped the CSJW Metal Charts,
DeBeauville has decided to shirk his original format, it seems. This doesn’t
mean he’s thrown the baby out with the bloody bathwater, however, as there’s
lots of characteristically dark and brooding DeBeauville material.
“Master Drone” is
the metal exception to the industrial rule on Tear a Hole in the Collective Vision. The reason for the more
industrial-leaning majority of songs on this album seems to be the programmed
electronic drums, which don’t feature as heavily on 13 Arcane Hymns. It sounds like on the first album the group had
some live drums to create that metal feel. I’m not sure it was a conscious
decision on DeBeauville’s part to use this technique on this album but it helps
to establish a trademark sound for him with drum programming in addiction to
his well-known guitars and synths.
Aside from “Master
Drone,” The title track seems to be the only other song that isn’t fast and
industrial-tinged. This track is probably the most interesting on the album as
well. “Tear a Hole in the Collective Vision” is, if anything, dark
wave-inspired but its structure is so avant-garde that it could be called
experimental dark wave metal, if that’s a thing. With a slow, quiet beginning,
it builds to a militaristic and sort of metal drum and guitar pairing at the
middle. Musically, the song has a kind of epic battle song feel, which fits well
with Moore’s lyrics. More powerfully than ever, Moore’s lyrics in this piece
mark a central theme to all of his work: the tossing off of conventional
thinking to create one’s own path, even if it means violence is necessary. DeBeauville’s
sparse music production allows Moore to really drive home this point, and the
effect is chilling.
The title track
and “Master Drone,” aren’t the only highlights on the album. The opener “The
Hydra’s Heart” has a really cool synthesized string track paired with the
guitars which make the song at once industrial and classical. It also has some
of Moore’s most interesting lyrical work. “Out of the Depths” is decidedly on
the industrial side of the spectrum, with a vintage synth melody which may
remind fans of The Cure. Paired with Moore’s Maynard-like vocals and very NIN
drum track, it’s a modern twist on the 90s pioneers of this style of music. Closing
track “We Have No Problems” sees DeBeauville’s metal guitars re-introduced to
the album with a drum track which vacillates back and forth between industrial
and metal in a way that only The Unravelling can pull off.
There is so much going on in Tear a Hole in the Collective Vision that it’s difficult to sum up. There are a lot of sub-genres and styles covered, and it’s clear that DeBeauville is happy to have Moore back to match his style in both quality and quantity. The Unravelling hoepfully have lots of material yet to come and both Moore and DeBeauville are eager to make up for lost time. It’s obvious that these two are just happy to be back together and making some of the most interesting underground music to come out of Canada in recent years. They’re so happy to be back together, in fact, that Tear a Hole in the Collective Vision and all of The Unravelling’s work is available for free download on their Bandcamp page. What more reason do you need?