So it looks like November 20th is the last big release day of 2020. While everyone’s hard at work on their album of the year lists, there are a few notable releases still on their way for your consideration. For example, that Killer Be Killed album seems like it’ll be really good, and it’s always interesting to hear what King Gizzard pulls off. But of course I’m not here to talk about either of those albums. Today we’re looking at a record that I hope doesn’t fly under people’s radars – L’Origine du Monde, the debut album from Unverkalt.
Unverkalt are a Greek band who play a mix of post rock, alternative metal, and doom metal. If you took Mariner, the 2016 collaboration between Cult Luna and Julie Christmas, but only had Christmas do vocals and injected a healthy dose of indie influence, you’d get something like L’Origine du Monde. If that word salad doesn’t mean anything to you then allow me to put it another way – this album is pretty damn great!
The album is brooding, but in a comforting way – if that makes any sense. The songs feel like meditations on weighty topics, rather than just straight up doom and gloom sobfests. Not to undersell it though, the tracks are still emotionally powerful and sorrowful. It’s a fine line Unverkalt tows, and they pull it off well.
There’s even a glimmer of hope portrayed in some of the songs. For example, in the lyrics to “Plague of Corruption”, singer Demetria Kv proclaims “but I’ll stand up and I won’t give in” in the face of a crumbling world. On “Remnants of the World”, she pleads “we need to spread seeds of kindness”. Overall, her vocal performances are phenomenal. She has a unique voice that would be just as suited for indie pop as it is for post metal. Her range is great too – from ethereal verses to belted choruses, to really expressive moments like exasperated vocals toward the end of “Below the Surface”.
The band gets more experimental as the tracklist progresses. While “The Boundary” is still my favorite track (I previously gushed about it in my Espresso review of the single), the tracklist doesn’t disappoint afterward. It’s the subtlties and flourishes that makes this album great. Most of the guitarwork is layered and saturated, expanding as each song progresses. There are also wonderful little details that give each song its own character, like the percussive use of piano on closing track “Plague of Corruption”. L’Origine du Monde is definitely a grower. A cursory listen may only show an album comprised of slow tempos, but really sitting with this album proves rewarding.
I’m not formally counting it as part of the review, but the bonus track “Juvenile” is one of the coolest tracks in the bunch. It’s very different then the rest of the album – more alternative rock than post metal.
But anyways – wow, what a great debut! Unverkalt has a clear vision that they executed skillfully. The album title translates to “the origin of the world” – but what does this mean? Lyrically, the album seams to deals in apocalyptic terms, but with an underlying hope of sparking the origin a new, better world. Whatever it means, one thing is certain – this is origin of the wonderful world of Unverkalt.
Best Tracks: The Boundary, Below the Surface, Solitude II, Les Fleurs de la Vanité
Weakest Tracks: n/a
FFO: Cult of Luna, Tool, Chvrches (but if they played in minor keys)