Unbowed – Through Endless Tides (Self-Released)Sunday, 28th May 2017
Last year, Unbowed released their last EP (Dogma), and showed some real signs of upping their game to the next level. Quickly they return to the fold with new full-length Through Endless Tides, which proves said EP to be no fluke. After improving production last time around, this time they’ve expanded their sound to incorporate more influences and are all the stronger for it.
Death, folk, black…all play their part in Unbowed’s sound (and are arguably just the beginning). Where the EP felt like some sorrow-fueled melodeath with a more direct and visceral approach, Through Endless Tides is not so easily classifiable. Lots of gorgeous melodies to be found still (just check out “Daughter of the Flood”), but blackened vibes permeate “Dreaming of the Deep” and some modern progressive elements in “Sign of Slaughter” to craft a vision that clearly has a variety of focus points. Indeed, the heavy and direct components remain and help to ground the band into more of their own, unique territory. Crunchy riffing dominates “Bleak Ululations” at the start, and then blends wonderfully with more symphonic additions to curve its blunt force into something particularly memorable. The synth components are worthy of discussion as well, as they normally add to the feeling instead of completely taking it over. They are a necessary piece to add to the band’s sound, but the rest of the instrumentation, especially the varied riffs, are the key to the band’s success. Rounding things out are vocals that vary as much as the rest of band, moving from shouted barks to effective clean vocals – a real treat on opener “Mountaincarver” – and help provide some additional aggression and beauty at the appropriate moments.
As the band’s second album, Through Endless Tides sets them up for even better things in their future. It seems they’ve established a sound that’s epic in scope but still able to carry some aggressive qualities to it as well. It’s epic, melodic, and punchy all at once – a hard combo to beat.