Unholy - Gracefallen ©1999 AvantGarde Music
1. ...Of Tragedy
2. Immaculate
3. Daybreak
4. When Truth Turns Its Head
5. Wanderer
6. Reek Of The Night
7. Haoma
8. Seeker
9. Athene Noctua

To truly cause feelings of sorrow and hopelessness in man, it is not enough to just torture them. After a period of negative experience, the human mind can adapt to this condition and it ceases to be affected. To truly cause pain, it is necessary to allow a small positive experience to interrupt the torture; this makes the return to the negative stimuli even more crushing, raising the spirits of the individual only to dash them to the ground again.

Unholy certainly have a grasp of this concept, and use it to perfection on their new album Gracefallen. They realize that doom metal needs to be contrasted with beauty in order to be affective in evoking the true epitome of sadness. Unholy uses haunting keyboards, beautiful lead guitar melodies, and the enchanting voice of new permanant member Vera Muhli along with the usual sludgy guitar and bass sound that doom is known for. The resulting sound is comparable to looking at the reflection of the sun on a polluted river; the prisms playing off of the oily surface are beautiful, but only highlight the filthy wasteland that the river has become.

The album is split between long songs that feature Vera's vocals and shorter ones that use death metal vocals. These are generally alternated, keeping the contrast intact and giving the entire album a cohesive feel instead of just being a collection of songs. Opener "...Of Tragedy," the instrumental "Haoma," and the dirge-ish "Athene Noctua" are all highlights. This is Unholy at their best, and the doom/death genre at it's finest.

Review by Scott Wilcox

Review date: 06/1999

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