Monday 29 January 2024

Unsouling - Vampiric Spiritual Drain

Labels: I, Voidhanger Records

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 26 Jan 2024


1. The Wolf And Survival

2. Ladder Of Broken Backs

3. Taileater

4. Floating Key

5. Weightless Immovable Anchor

6. Endless Plateau

7. The Wolf And Ascension

I never intended for my first 2024 release review to come a mere three/four days before the end of January, but that's just how things have fallen. Vampiric Spiritual Drain is the debut album from US solo US black/death metal band Unsouling. It was officially digitally by Unsouling and physically via I, Voidhanger Records just two days ago. Unsouling draws it's inspiration from the likes of Feral Light and Manetheren amongst others, so expect something forward-thinking.

I’ve spent the last forty-eight hours or so with family and a four-legged friend. The reason I mention that is because the album opener ‘The Wolf And Survival’ reminds me of how energised I feel after another long-awaited encounter with my favourite canine. The song in question is a melodic yet raw affair, providing loving warmth alongside typical black metal intensity and experimental joy.  ‘Ladder Of Broken Backs’ is a more straightforward black/death metal song with Unsouling’s sole musician providing an extremely coherent and complete barrage of percussion, bass, guitar and vocals. At times it’s almost bombastic though it never crosses into symphonic territory.

After two full-on opening songs, ’Taileater’ is an electronic-laden instrumental number that’s perhaps inspired by cosmic elements. Maybe not in the same way as Blood Incantation but hopefully you’ll understand where I’m going with that comparison. ‘Floating Key’ is a superlative example of orchestral black/death metal and it works because Unsouling’s approach here is one of utter bewilderment and avant-garde experimentalism. The lengthier songs on Vampiric Spiritual Drain are the best in my opinion and ‘Weightless Immovable Anchor’ is a song that moves in many different circles, from true heaviness to melodic pomposity without compromising on overall musical quality.

There’s also a none-so-subtle industrial element to the sound on this album, as demonstrated by penultimate song ‘Endless Plateau’ and it’s percussion-lead tone. Much like Nailbomb/Sepultura without being a clone. Album closer ‘The Wolf And Ascension’ takes Unsouling’s experimental blueprint and stretches it to an almost ten-minute epic. When I say epic, I really mean it to as Unsouling’s lead-guitar work really comes to the fore during the song’s mid-section. It gives way to a synth-laden passage that lasts just long enough to add some light to the recording. Spacier tones wrap themselves around you during the closing few minutes, adding to the cosmic vibe generated earlier on while banishing any sense of extremity.

This has been an earthy yet really engrossing debut album from a solo project that will hopefully go on and produce more great black/death metal. Another great find by I, Voidhanger Records too.

You can stream and purchase Vampiric Spiritual Drain directly from Unsouling below:-

Unsouling -

You can order physical CD copies from I, Voidhanger Records below:-

UK/EU Store -

US Store -

I, Voidhanger Records -

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