"Under A Torn Sky"

By Earthdog

Before  I ever got a copy of Unsilence's, "Under A Torn Sky" album, I read somewhere that the album is merely a copy of Warning's masterpiece "Watching For A Distance" album but I was hopeful that was just some narrow-minded viewpoint from a reviewer with a axe to grind. I am happy to say that reviewer is way off...sure, they are a little like Warning but what's wrong with being like a killer band anyway? Putting all that aside though, what you are left with is still a killer album despite the comparisons. The album begins with "The Last Day song" which was also on a demo they brought out some 3 years ago called "Echoes Awaken". You would think some new material would be in order but never mind, because it is still a good track. It's a mid-tempo track with vocal melodies that are very much the trademark of the album... the song has some real depth of musicianship. There is also a lot of polish in the playing and the recording of the songs that sets them apart from Warning but it's also the main stumbling block for doom fans. This amount of polish is rare for a doom album and it takes away some of the raw heaviness that this band could be capable of producing.

As the album progresses, you get a sense of mid 90's goth-metal especially in the track "The Burning Midnight" where the rhythm section really drives the song along. The song is a little like newer While Heaven Wept material in part but also has a element of freshness to it made courtesy of the stellar rhythm section. "Transfiguration" is an apocalyptic Doom track with one of the strongest songwriting moments of the album, based around guitar melodies and leads rather than riffs. It has some twists and turns closer to progressive rock than traditional doom and yet still sounds very dark and heavy. "Barricade" is another track from the Echoes Awaken demo and here its given some new life, with sorrowful leads, guitar melodies and some kick ass heavy riffing. "Echoes Awaken" is dark and esoteric with deep melodies that make you listen and keep you mesmerized. This song captures the true sound of Unsilence: emotional, melancholic, multi-layered and dynamic but is it really doom or even metal? At times ,it had me wondering. "Of What May Become" heads off into a almost jazz-rock take on doom metal with complex interplay between melodies and the rhythmic structure of the song.

"The Hour of Arrival" follows and is even more complex, it begins with a wonderful acoustic intro before a series of break-downs, various melodic themes and guitar leads. It is pretty hard to describe where this fits in within the doom metal genre as this could almost be considered pop-music with its melodic hooks. The next song is even more hard to describe... the final track "Winds of Enlightenment" is a nine minute epic where the band gets the closest to raw traditional doom metal than anywhere else on the album. There is more aggression and raw guitar passages making this worth your wait. The song is adventurous but listen to the whole track because the last minute or so is one of the most mind-blowing parts of the album, it builds to a giant crescendo and is rounded off with acoustic guitar and more great vocals. "Under A Torn Sky" can be listened to in 2 ways: you can get obsessed with superficial comparisons or you can judge it on its own merits. Personally I prefer the latter approach so on that basis I hear what is a very good album. The review I read comparing them to Warning is accurate in a lot of ways but this album also stands up on its own. They push the boundaries of what is epic-doom and do a exciting job of it. The casual listener of doom metal may miss its hidden treasures but it's worth checking out, so don't let this one pass you by. 8.5/10