Monday, November 28, 2016

Interview with Unreqvited

Unreqvited is a one-man atmospheric black metal project from Canada that skillfully combines a variety of different sounding elements to construct an atmospheric world with cinematic like qualities. Last month Unreqvited's debut full-length album, "Disquiet," was released and has received high praise from fans and critics. After reviewing the album for this blog, I thought it would be a good idea to learn more about the band and ask the mastermind behind this brilliant music some questions. Here is the interview...

Hello there and thanks for taking the time to do this interview. “Disquiet,” is a release that I think displays brilliant songwriting and very creative musical abilities. How long has Unreqvited been around for and when did you start working on the album?

Unreqvited: Thank you! I began writing for the project towards the end of last winter. I wrote the title track off the record before I had even decided that I wanted to start up a black metal project. As soon as the song was complete I put it up online and Pest Productions sent me a message within two hours of it being up. This was my confirmation that I wanted to follow through with the project.

From what I have read on your Facebook page and in the album’s description, you play all the instruments on the album. Is that correct? What is it like being in a one-man band? Do find that you get to have more creative freedom?

Unreqvited: Yes, I composed all of the music and recorded, mixed, and mastered all of it myself in my bedroom. Of course one of the main perks of having a solo project is having full control over everything creatively, which isn't something I necessarily had in previous projects. Unreqvited is not my only active music endeavor, however it is the only project where I can conduct everything exactly as I want it to be done.

The production quality on this album was very impressive and that really stood out when I first listened to the release. Where did you record the album and maybe walk readers through how you recorded some of the songs? Were there any songs you felt took longer to record, or maybe need extra time to compose?

Unreqvited: I've heard quite a lot of mediocre production coming out of the scene recently, and although it is not traditional to do so, I set out to create something that was produced well enough that it could appeal to people outside of the strict genre confinements that it may be categorized as.

I would describe Unreqvited as atmospheric black metal with an incorporation of different musical elements that mainly focus on creating a strong atmosphere. However, I find labeling and describing music to be a difficult task, as musicians can have a variety of influences and reviewers can possibly ignore certain aspects of an artist’s album. I was wondering if you could talk about the different styles of music that have influenced you and may have contributed to Unreqvited’s sound?

Unreqvited: I was heavily influenced by many different genres in the creation of Disquiet. Apart from the newer wave of black metal/shoegaze hybrid bands, I am very interested in film scores, New Age music, and generally anything with a huge cinematic feel. I think you can see a lot of this influence in the very last track on the album. I set out to create something that could still fit within the genre of atmospheric black/post-black, but to put enough of my own influences into it to make it unique.

To me the entire album is one massive story divided up into chapters, but instead of using words you have created a tale with dynamic and captivating sounds. I would describe it as almost cinematic at times. Could you maybe talk about what inspired you to write the album? Also, can you maybe explain your decision to not use actual lyrics to narrate your songs?

Unreqvited: I've always been a huge fan of instrumental music, because it can tell a story that is very open to interpretation by the listener. All of the songs on the record are written with a very personal story in mind, and the meaning behind them will never be unveiled to anyone. I want to put the creative process back into the hands of the listener to create their own meaning.

Unreqvited "Death" : 

This is going to be one of those commonly asked questions, but is there a track on the album that you personally think stands out amongst the rest? Let’s say someone has never heard of Unreqvited before and this is the song you believe they should hear first?

Unreqvited: I think The Autumn Fire and the title track Disquiet are the two songs that really hold the quintessential Unreqvited sound. Any new material will revolve around keeping that core sound, and expanding on it.

Right now you are a one-man project, but would you be interested in performing live with other musicians? Do you think Unreqvited could one day have a full line-up, or are you perfectly content with working on all the music?

Unreqvited: Although I am perfectly content with remaining a studio project, I would love to take the project on the road if the right opportunity arose. There are no plans to do so as if right now, but I won't rule it out as a possibility.

Well, this is the final question and I am going to ask if maybe we can get a glimpse into the future. Are you already starting to work on new material for a follow-up to “Disquiet?”

Unreqvited: I have a few ideas brewing, but I've been very wrapped up in other projects to really put the time into new music right now.

Thanks again for the interview and hope to hear more exceptional recordings from Unreqvited in the future.

Unreqvited: You're very welcome, take care! 

Unreqvited Facebook Page:

Unreqvited Bandcamp:

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Concert Review: Red House November 26, 2016 (Cartilage, Dismembered Carnage, Hemotoxin, and Lord of War )


    On a cold dark night in the city of Walnut Creek, CA, Red House Studios happened to be a haven for extreme metal music enthusiasts. The bill featured four brutal acts that displayed solid talent and allowed for fans to unleash their inner aggression and revel in the sound of extreme distorted chaos.

    The line-up consisted of four bands: Cartilage, Dismembered Carnage, Hemotoxin and Lord of War. I think four bands was the perfect amount to have booked and I have been to shows where there were seven bands which really cut down on each group's set time. Also, you had consistency amongst the bands who played this show, so it was not like you had to wait after two bands to finally get to a band that knew how to write songs and play their instruments.

  Before the Red House even opened its doors, you had a decent amount of people waiting around to get inside. Starting the show off was Cartilage from San Francisco who I think had a supportive following from what I observed as they began their set. The band’s sound was a mix of old school death metal and flesh ripping grindcore. They even wore blood splattered cloths to add to the music’s gory death grind themes. Cartilage was an very impressive act all around, especially with regards to their musicianship. The band’s drummer demonstrated tremendous talent behind the kit and the guitar sound cranked out plenty of corpse cutting riffs. At times I felt like the guitar riffs were capturing that early Carcass sound and the intense blast beat sections hit hard to the point where you felt the sheer force of the drums. Also, the singer had great personality and solid stage presence. Definitely an act to keep an eye on and a really enjoyable live band.


  Second up after Cartilage was Dismembered Carnage, a group of blasphemous brutal sounding musicians from Concord, CA. The band’s sound draws influence from old school death metal and the slower gruesome sounding riffs really stood out during their set. I thought they had a solid guitar and drum sound throughout their set and the vocalist showed great passion when growling into the microphone. They seemed to have a fanatical following of fans in front of the stage who were headbanging along and constantly moshing around. Songs like “Devoured in the Tomb” and “Split Open the Pope” received positive response from the audience. I felt the lyrical content at times fell into that cliché death metal category, which has been done so many times before. I mean, Deicide and Vital Remains have made careers out of talking about dismembering priests and frightening Bible Thumpers. In the end, Dismembered Carnage has something going with their sound, but I would like to see the band maybe push themselves more in certain areas.

  After Dismembered Carnage concluded their unholy old school death metal sounding performance, Hemotoxin started gearing up to begin their set of technical style of death/thrash. I saw Hemotoxin a month prior when they played at the Trecelence release show. Also, I reviewed, “Biological Enslavement,” when the album came out and I do believe that there is a chance it might make its way into my top ten albums of the year. Hemotoxin is band who has really put in the extra effort since the release of the new album. Their hard work is paying off and the recent performances seem to get better each time I see them. The vocal’s perfectly compliment the attitude of the music, while each member shows great enthusiasm when playing their instrument. Also, you remember certain songs like “Regression” and “Forgotten Faces,” because of the thought provoking lyrics and well constructed verse sections. The band demonstrates that technical talent alone does not make a band great, it is about crafting memorable songs that convey powerful energy and can grab people’s attentions. Even with some slight guitar monitor issues the band put together a tight sounding performance which the fans seemed to appreciate and enjoy.

  The final act, Lord of War, from San Diego, CA, was currently on tour and seemed to be busy within the last month after recently finishing up a European tour with Vader and Hate Eternal. I was interested in hearing how they would sound and the band had a very impressive stage set up with smoke machines and an eye catching light setup. Unfortunately, I guess some other people in the crowd were not as interested and a fair amount of them either left, or went outside. This has happened where people only go to see their friends and sometimes bands end up playing to less than half an audience. I do believe it is disrespectful, however, Lord of War's singer sort of let it get to him and kept bringing it up throughout their performance. The rest of the band played on with really good passion and although breakdown riffs are not exactly my favorite style of guitar riff, I respect the two guitar players for at least maintaining a tight sound. Overall, Lord of War was a decent act who unfortunately learned that it is long way to the top if you want to rock and roll.

Lord of War

  Wrapping it up here, I think the entire show was not disappointing for those who showed up to the Red House. There were definitely some talented extreme metal musicians working hard to present vicious and unforgiving sounding songs that would have scared the pants off of a Southern Baptist Minister. Again, I cannot stress enough the fact that these four bands were all you needed to have a great headbanging experience. If there were seven bands billed...damn, Lord of War might have been playing to two people.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Unreqvited "Disquiet"

  2016 seems to be the year of atmospheric black metal, because I find myself writing a review for yet another talented band that explores the genre’s infinite potential for musical creativity. Unreqvited is a one-man project from Canada that captured my attention right away when I first heard the song, “Disquiet.” Soon after hearing that song, I was highly anticipating the release of this debut full-length album.

  The band’s style of atmospheric black metal is one that paints a canvas of musical diversity with elements of post rock, ambient and of course that majestic atmospheric black metal sound that completely washes over your soul. From the beginning you find yourself locked into this massive sounding world of guitars, synthesizers and drums. Instead of clearly presenting lyrical content, the artist uses these cries of agony to give the release a unique quality that replaces words with true human expression. When evaluating the overall production quality and sound of the album, I find there to be few weak moments, which tells you the sort of hard work that went into recording this release.

  As I said before my first introduction to the band was when I heard the title track before the album’s release. Now having heard the entire album, I am able to understand how that song fits into the entire picture. “Disquiet,” may be separated into seven tracks,  but the music is one piece of an emotional odyssey through these captivating atmospheric landscapes with fading cries of aguish to create a brilliant contrast of sound. Unrequited opens the album with the song, “Birth,” and ends the release with the appropriately titled track, “Death.” That final song happens to be one of the most deep and moving pieces of music I have heard this year and I will go into further detail later on in this review. The rest of the songs on the album convey their own distinct sounding themes, yet maintain a level of consistency that makes the transitions from each track flow with great synergy.

  “The Autumn Fire,” is one song that I found myself constantly replaying once it finished. I just close my eyes and let the music take me away with its soothing and dynamic guitar arrangements. The melodic touches combined with the cold black metal screams is very comforting. Other songs that expressed a similar sounding presentation that I also enjoyed were, “An Ocean of Ire,” and “Maydena.” In the end, my favorite song on the album is, “Death.” The keyboard parts are well composed, while the background synth provides a deep and moving atmosphere. As the final distorted guitar section concludes the sounds of thunder can be heard echoing in the background. The music fades out with a pleasant piano section to close the book on this atmospheric tale.

  Unreqvited’s, “Disquiet,” is an album that had me speechless at times, but as you can tell by the length of this review I had a lot to say about the release. Arguably one of the best sounding releases to come out this year and the recording quality is once again really impressive. When dealing with this frustrating and crazy modern world, I think releases like this are a great investment and can be really therapeutic. I feel like saying highly recommended is not should really make the time to listen to this album.

Unreqvited "The Autumn Fire" :

Unrequited Facebook Page:

Unrequited Bandcamp: