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Unhealer – Unhealer

Unhealer
Unhealer
by Santiago Puyol at 27 November 2022, 3:17 PM

Swedish Hardcore/Metal band UNHEALER released their self-titled debut past 26th August 2022. These nine tracks present their blend of Hardcore Punk tendencies with vague Prog-leaning Metal, Sludge and Post-Metal influences, delivering melodic songs that draw from both Punk and Metal.

Opener “Stretch This Cold Heart” is a great example of their strengths. A great mix of melodic songwriting, aggressive riffing and harsh vocals. The Hardcore influence in Andreas Baier’s vocal work is undeniable. Musically, it reminded me of some of the Sludgier works by THE OCEAN COLLECTIVE, another band that sometimes adds a bit of Punk elements to their music. A sense of melancholy permeates the whole song and the entire album, making this first track an absolute mood setter.

The record shifts then between longer, more expansive tracks that dig deeper into the Post-Metal influence and shorter ones that ramp up the Post-Hardcore intensity and urgency. On the former, “Sedate Enslave” and “The Nest” are clear highlights, both slow burners that build towards climatic final sections. “The Nest” is the most successful of the both, making great use of a spoken word sample —of a sermon, it seems— that gives a bit of an apocalyptic feel to the track. Its big, metallic riffing sits comfortable next to the powerful, screamed vocals.

Claimant”, “Behavioural Repertoire” and “The Stand” are all perfect examples of the punkier side of the record. Effective, to the point and unrelenting. “Claimant” is particularly inspired, with its chorus echoing the work of Post-Hardcore bands like REFUSED or LA DISPUTE. “The Stand” is more of a traditional, balls to the wall, Hardcore tune, while “Behavioural” manages to feel every bit as urgent while keeping things mid-tempo.

The rest of the album makes a particular balancing exercise, treading carefully with both sides of the equation not falling on either side. “Caliphate” becomes the most successful song on the entire record in that regard. It’s the clear single, feeling like the pop version (in a good way) of a Post-Hardcore/Post-Metal hybrid song. Anchored in an echoey main riff, it never loses focus. It has a great chorus and a lovely bridge with soft, reverb-drenched vocals. Once again, it sounds very THE OCEAN-like, but if that band decided to write a three-minute track with some radio potential among fans of heavier music.

The Ghost” is another experiment in mixing styles that pays off, following the formula of the more expansive, lengthier tracks, but in a concise way. The harmonized vocals at its very end is a haunting and inspired idea, one they could have developed a little more as it stands out being a pretty unique moment in the whole record.

UNHEALER’s self-titled debut record is a solid record albeit one that seems to be playing a bit too safe at times. The songwriting is there, the musicianship too, this trio is clearly talented, but at times they feel a bit scared of following on more unusual ideas. The stronger songs on this set are those where they let themselves experiment a little. The production is also lacking, as it feels a bit too raw for the music. Although it might fit the Punk aesthetic they are going for, at times it hurts the nuances of the songwriting or muddies things up unnecessarily. Polishing thing up a little bit wouldn’t hurt for sure.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Stretch This Cold Heart
2. Claimant
3. Sedate Enslave
4. The Stand
5. The Nest
6. Caliphate
7. The Ghost
8. Behavioural Repertoire
9. Stand Trial
Lineup:
Jonas Gryth – Guitars
Pär Wallman – Drums
Andreas Baier – Vocals
Record Label: WormHoleDeath Productions
     


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Edited 02 February 2023
 

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