Monday, 20 February 2012

Unfold - Cosmogon EP


Unfold are a 12 legged metal band from Switzerland, and Cosmogon is their latest record, which has been released by Swiss record label Division Records.


Opener Erebe starts with slow riffing and rabid, almost black-metal screams. The music is very reminiscent of fellow Swiss noise mongers Knut, who incidentally have shared Unfold's label in the past. This is very dissonant in places, relying on clean and tuneful guitar to bring the sense of melody that makes Unfolds music multi dimensional. The keyboards instruments are used to add another dimension to the music, add the melodic vocals, while quiet do remind me of Deftones slightly, a strange comparison I know. It's a very positive introduction to a band, that until now, I've not heard.

Opening track Erebe fades straight into their second track Hemere, which is immediately a heavier proposition. The rhythm section is more apparent and the use of the same guitar riff, gives you a sense of Unfold wanting to create a more austere, claustrophobic atmosphere with their instrumentation.

Third track Hystrion, appears out of the feedback, with some clever, almost tribal drumming, before lurching back to the more melodic sound of the opener. Fellow experimentalists The Ocean do start to spring to mind when listening to the music unfolding around your ears. It has a very European flavour to it, and Unfold don't try to Americanise their sound, which is definitely a plus point for me. It's unfair to categorise this record, as it's equal part hardcore, metal and slower progressive touches make it an entity in it's own right. The way the songs all flow into each other without a noticeable break in music, is a really nice touch.

Fourth track Hexahedron, allows the screaming vocals of Danek to come to the fore a bit more. The use of vocals, while more sporadic than your usual metal release, do make more of an impact here, in between the quiet/loud moments. I like the way Unfold use the guitar feedback as an extension to their music, as sometimes it can seem jarring and out of place on some records.

So onto fifth song, Ethera, which is the longest song on Cosmogon at just over thirteen minutes. It's builds with a long instrumental intro, using different instruments and effects to build  atmosphere. It crescendo's multiple times, making you think that Unfold are about to launch full force into their crunching, progressive metal, only to fade away again. The use of clean guitar and keys again add variation to the song. The notation in the song does add to the feeling of evil and fear, yet it's a strangely uplifting listening to someone screaming at the top of their lungs. The song at times sound quite futuristic in the way certain instrumental effects are used, and halfway through, it moves towards a type industrial metal hybrid that would be welcome in a dark, basement club.

Sometimes, it's hard to get your head round the use of some of the slightly off-beat time signatures used in Ethera, but that does add to the listening experience, as this isn't music to feel comfortable to. The pace slows down and the music becomes more oppressive and negative. The end of Ethera brings some solace and time for reflection, after what has been an incredible journey of a song.

Eschaton is the final song that Unfold have to offer on Cosmogon and it's your last chance to get lost in their own brand of progressive, intelligent metal. Again, they major on instrumental skill, and the addition of the sole drumsticks keeping time is another nice touch. Again, this is a very vibrant track when all parts are kicking it together. It's a polar opposite of Ethera before it, in it's immediacy and pace. It's brings together everything that has come before it, with the beautiful instrumentation only punctuated by those emotive, screaming vocals.

This record is not a immediate fix, like most people seem to want these days and as a result, is a tremendously rewarding listen for those willing to dedicate the time and energy. This is why I do what I do, it's the comfort of knowing that for every ten unoriginal poser/hipster bands, there are incredible, original bands like Unfold, who are making music for themselves, not constrained by genre convention.My advice, don't sleep on Cosmogon or Unfold, or else you'll miss out!

Be sure to check Unfold out on their Facebook page at  http://www.facebook.com/unfoldrocks, where you can hear both Hexahedron and Eschaton on their bandpage. Also go to Division Records at http://www.divisionrecords.com, of you want to pick up Cosmogon.

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