Hailing from Canada, The Unravelling is a rock group composed of two musicians: Steve Moore and the majestically named Gustavo De Beauville. Moore is the vocalist/lyricist, while De Beauville handles the music, instruments and production.
'Tear a Hole in the Collective Vision' is the duo's sophomore album. Their freshman effort was called '13 Arcane Hymns' which, apparently, achieved moderate success in the Great White North and earned the duo new followers on social media. The four year gap between albums was due to Moore's cancer diagnosis, a battle he successfully won.
Prior to releasing 'Tear a Hole', the duo released two singles: 'Revolt' and 'Master Drone.' Both songs are included on 'Tear a Hole in the Collective Vision' (TAHITCV), which is a lame attempt at trying to sound like Nine Inch Nails and Tool, with influences from Slipknot and Pantera. The overall effect of the album is like pouring muriatic acid on corrugated steel: fizzing, acidic smoke and dire consequences.
De Beauville utilizes heavy guitars, opaque synthesizers and compact layering that merely succeed in suffocating any melodies that might exist. On the rare occasions that De Beauville injects harmonious subtleties, Moore destroys them with his ear-piercing squealing that evokes aural images of an abattoir. In short, Moore is no Joe Cocker, who not only knew how to scream but when to utilize a scream to best effect. On the other hand, Moore seems to believe that the liberal use of screams adds gravitas. It doesn't. As practiced by Moore, screaming simply serves to insert cacophony.
The tracks on TAHITCV lack the industrial impact of Nine Inch Nails, the musical motifs of Tool, the sheer brutality of Pantera and the rage-fueled dynamism of Slipknot. In essence, if De Beauville would strip away the layered guitars, listeners would be capable of appreciating his music's arcane energy. The other problem, once again, is Moore's voice, which is too high-pitched to effectively pull off the vulgarity essential to industrial rock.
TAHITCV contains a solitary example of what The Unravelling is capable of: 'The Fearless Seed,' a track where Moore reins in his penchant for screaming and demonstrates the elemental spirit of his voice.
The other tracks on the album suffer various problems. 'Hydra's Heart' slaps layer upon layer of guitars, while Moore's vocals stumble. 'Lucky Me' is afflicted by repetition ad infinitum, along with hints of Alice Cooper's 'Billion Dollar Babies.' The fourth track, 'We Have No Problems,' has nothing but problems. Moore's voice is too high, while the instrumentation sounds as if it's way past its expiration date - stilted and curdled.
The title track, 'Tear a Hole in the Collective Vision,' drowns under the weight of the smarmy synthesizers, providing the perfect accompaniment to a Vincent Price horror flick.
Despite this criticism, The Unravelling has talent. The duo just needs to find a balance that showcases their abilities. If the duo can do that, they might have a shot at going big time in the industrial rock arena.
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It's nothing like the country vibe we were anticipating.
It's their first album since 2014's 'Redeemer of Souls'.