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Unknown Refuge – From the Darkness

Unknown Refuge
From the Darkness
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 16 May 2021, 9:53 AM

UNKNOWN REFUGE was formed in Bolton, England in 2015. With lyrical content about fighting and war, “From the Darkness” is the band’s debut album, which contains ten tracks. “From the Darkness” kicks off the album. It’s a short one-minute instrumental, setting a melancholy mood from the charming piano notes and background ambiance. It segues into “To the Light,” which begins with a crunchy riff and some lead notes. The harmonies in the chorus are on point. They sound old-school, but also with a fresh energy as well. Some bass notes give way to lead notes and they finish on the strong chorus.

“Kicked to the Floor” opens with some lead guitar notes and a heavy rhythm, bass and drum section. This song has a darker edge to it, and a mid-temp pace. A decent guitar solo is laid down that follows the melody line pretty well. “Battle Hymn” begins with some drum thuds and a fast-moving energy from the riff. Alex follows in unison with the bass notes. The vocals are harmonized in the short chorus, then it’s back to the opening sound again. Jack Tracey offers up some dexterous lead guitar, and it again finishes on the chorus.

“Shadows” is a quick three-and-a-half-minute burner, opening with drums and bass. The main rhythm hits and they venture just a bit of the low E chord. It closes on a short guitar solo. “Palace Walls” opens with a weighted riff and some lead guitar notes. But again, it’s another mid-tempo song, without a memorable chorus. “Wall of Lies” is another song with the same tempo as many of the other tracks. The riffs are simple and there isn’t much else going on. Although, Jack Tracy does establish himself as a more then capable lead guitarist.

“If the Gods be Good” is the second of three shorter tracks sandwiched together on the album. It’s just not enough time in my opinion to really get something good going, though the chorus is nice this time around, with some “whoa whoa whoas” augmenting the sound. “I’m not a Bad Guy” is a little faster in pace and features some good vocal snarls, and another strong guitar solo. “Journey” closes the album. It opens with some harmonic lead guitar parts and a strong rhythm section, but again, it has a similar pace to many of the other tracks. I get a hint of IRON MAIDEN from the instruments mainly. It’s hard to be from England and not be influenced by MAIDEN.

Overall, this album has potential. Though they have their own sound, many of the riffs you have heard before, and much of the album is stuck in what I call the “mid-tempo” blues, meaning the same tempo bogs down the album as a whole. Many of the songs also have a darker edge to them. If they brighten things up just bit, the album could be great. Alex has a nice voice, but it’s just not enough to overcome the pacing issues I mentioned before. I hope they can remedy a couple of these things for a future release.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. From the Darkness
2. To the Light
3. Kicked to the Floor
4. Battle Hymn
5. Shadows
6. Palace Walls
7. Wall of Lies
8. If the Gods be Good
9. I’m not a Bad Guy
10. Journey
Lineup:
Alex Mancini – Bass, Vocals
Morgan Deveney – Drums, Vocals (Backing)
Jack Tracey – Guitars (Lead)
Harry Skinner – Guitars (Rhythm)
Record Label: Independent
     


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