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Unico – Hymns Of The Bone Orchard

Unico
Hymns Of The Bone Orhcard
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 14 January 2021, 1:18 AM

UNICO is a sludge/doom band from Tallahassee, Florida.  Their full length debut album,"Hymns For The Bone Orchard," has riffs for days. Seriously, if you are a guitar fan this album will be your god. The doom notes are dirty and covered in swampy sludge. Riff after riff just cuts through the dismal atmosphere and the tone is killer. Amazingly, there isn't any bass! In their own words:  "2 channels, one true guitar and the other is an octave down pedal through bass pedals." Very interesting and it works more than well enough.

The band isn't just about crushing faces with the guitar….they also can dial it back quite a few notches for a more introspective approach to their craft. Several of the songs have a movement within that is much more ambient than the ultra heavy doom that surrounds them. A variety of ideas also permeate throughout the track list. The interlude "give me all the world…." is an instrumental violin piece that breaks up the heavier tracks nicely. I can't help but feel a bit uneasy when listening to the short track…it sort of feels like it is teetering on the edge of madness.

"….and exile me from it" is the other interlude and I'm pretty sure it is a continuation of the aforementioned song. It is clever idea on the band's part to connect them. Spacing them apart from each despite that helps tie the album's flow together. I wish they expanded more on these musically different passages and ideas but there is still so much here to enjoy. "Floodbringer," starts the album out on the right foot with Sam's low end riffs and the crisp and clear drums of Brad, whose cymbal work is particularly well placed.  His snare sounds great too.

Vocally, Sam's voice is a sort of blackened/death growl shout with a spoken word cadence to them at times. He's on point throughout the album and is a highlight for sure. Parts of this song have a southern and blues feel to them which isn't surprising in the least. Around the halfway mark the song gets quiet with the "bass" taking a run thru while the bass drums drop like back bombs. "Summoned" is explosive, riffs coming hard and the drums even more so. The song sounds absolutely sinister when it slows down, the vocals digging in deep with those drums crashing all around with pristine purpose. Just as the song reaches a zenith, it goes ghost the down tuned guitars getting some breathing room. It serves to make the final part of the song even heavier as it washes away, or completely destroys rather, the sleepy and melodic mid sections.

"Heretic To Boar King" is one of my favorite song on the album. The riffs and drums come together for a hypnotic array of destruction. I loved the spare, and a bit creepy, mid section too. Afterwards, the guitar and drums go deep for maximum effect. The final track "Writhing," is a beast of a song with eleven minutes of in your face doom metal. It has such an angry emotion  to it, this sort of rage that flows like a river.  The first half of the song is tumultuous while the final act is a bit more drenched in slower, more methodical anxiety. One hell of a way to end the album. But that middle portion bridges the gap well by building up tension at just the right pace.

UNICO’s first album is quite the banger and they are already starting their career on the right foot. I very much look forward to their future releases.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Floodbringer
2. Summoned
3. Give Me All the World… (Interlude)
4. Wake
5. Heretic to Boar King
6. Empty Prayers for Empty Men
7. I Prefer My Darkness to the Light
8. Hollow
9. …and Exile Me from it (Interlude)
10. Writhing
Lineup:
Brad– Drums
Sam – Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 28 September 2021
 

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