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Unprocessed - Artificial Void Award winner

Unprocessed
Artificial Void
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 08 August 2019, 12:06 PM

UNPROCESSED was formed by guitarist Manuel and drummer Jan in early 2014 together with the earlier bassist, singer and second guitarist. After a few line-up changes, the current members decided on sticking to a highly diversifying sound, which can be described as a technically sophisticated modern style of Progressive Metal. They present for us today their latest album, titled “Artificial Void,” which contains twelve tracks.

“Prototype” leads off the album. The technical elements come through right away, especially in the guitars and bass. The vocals in the verses are dreamy at first, and then full on harsh. There is a sterility to the music this time that wasn’t on the last album…it comes from all the dexterous technical elements for sure…but that melodious passage at the end…brilliant. “Artificial Void” opens with some sounds that might come from outer space, especially the heavy drum beats. It features some more melody but those guitars and bass are so tightly performed they would uncoil like a snake if touched. “Ruins” opens softly with clean vocals and a dreamy atmosphere. Even the clean guitars Djent a little bit, keeping that edge rough.

“Fear” opens with that thick chugging bass line that eats up the earth. Guitars join in unison, while the atmosphere builds. Once again, the vocals in the verse start softly, and breathe nicely in the chorus. The ambient building here is masterfully done. Obviously, the band has the chops to really tear it up but show great restraint in this in favor of songwriting. “Abandoned” opens with a pretty little guitar melody but the song still chugs. It rides that line between heavy and aggressive and ambient pretty well. “House of Waters” hits you with a gorgeous melody out of the gate. The vocal harmonies are on point as well. This shows the softer, more thoughtful side of the band. The heavy accents are there…but as accents only, and do not take over the sound.

“Avatar” opens with some steady beats before the chaos drops with harsh vocals. But it doesn’t last long, as clean vocals wash away some of the aggressiveness. Then it’s back to the heaviness again. The balance they display here is quite nice. “Antler’s Decay” opens with a thick and chunky slab of guitars, harsh vocals, and a bit of dissonance. Some melody seeps in at the chorus, but it’s fairly heavy throughout, especially considering the heavy accents that take the song to completion. “Down the Spine” opens softly and with a lot of atmosphere. But lurking is that heart-beat bass line, waiting to strike. The strikes come in a rhythmic cadence, leading to the burst of harsh vocals. It ends in another ambient passage.

“Another Sky” opens with charming piano notes and simulated strings. From there it develops into a friendly piece of music with just enough bite to know that you are listening to Metal. This is a bit of a surprise, but it’s a nice surprise. “The Movements, Their Echo” opens with an aggressive and ultra-heavy sound, fueled by raging harsh vocals. The bass tone in this song is phenomenal, and the band knows how to use bassist David Levy very well…he is really integral to the band’s sound and you don’t often say that about a bassist. “Closure” is the aptly title closing song on the album. It feature some more of those outer-worldly sounds that the band does so well. The piano parts are absolutely beautiful. It takes you to another world, another level of your mind that you didn’t know you could visit.

Overall, this is a masterful album done with intelligent songwriting, creative structures, and just enough adjunct elements to set it apart from the other bands in the genre. They can be as fierce and technical as the best of them, but know how to let other songs breathe so that you can take in their melody. It seems they have grown a bit as a band also, coming together in a synergy that you don’t often hear out there. It’s the perfect blend of technical Metal and ambient melody that I believe I have heard this year.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Prototype
2. Artificial Void
3. Ruins
4. Fear
5. Abandoned
6. House of Waters
7. Avatar
8. Antler’s Decay
9. Down the Spine
10. Another Sky
11. The Movements, Their Echoes
12. Enclosure
Lineup:
Manuel Gardner Fernandes – Vocals, Guitars
Christoph Schultz – Guitars
Christopher Talosi – Guitars
David Levy – Bass
Leon Pfeifer – Drums
Record Label: Long Branch Records
     


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