As Everything Unfolds – Ultraviolet (Long Branch Records)

Monday, 17th April 2023
Rating: 9.5/10

With their 2021 debut, Within Each Lies the Other, As Everything Unfolds made quite a splash and for good reason.  Their particular brand of metal meets rock meets pop meets you-name-it was heavy, catchy, and nothing if not from the heart.  It resonated particularly for that final reason – it was an album that wore it’s heart on its sleeve, with emotions ranging from dark and depressive to angry to even a taste of happiness now and again.  No surprise that Ultraviolet leans into the best elements of what made Within work so well, making for a listen that’s both addictive and personal without becoming too trope-ridden or sounding recycled.

Having a winning formula from day one is always a great starting point, but it also leads to the problem of “how to make the songwriting advance without losing what made it work to begin with.” As Everything Unfolds took a clear look at the backbone of their sound and the components that work for them, and found ways to enhance them.  There’s a sonic weight and immediacy to the music that still persists, and they found a way to make it even more intimate in some ways than the first record.  “Flip Side” has some scorching moments and they also do a great job of making them feel just intense as they swirl into something that demands your attention as Charlie Rolfe’s screams merge with the distorted guitars.  Yet at the opposite end of the spectrum, they can write some insidiously catchy hooks that pop bands would be envious of.  The guitar melodies of  “Twilight” tickle the ears, and closer “All I’ve Ever Known” tries to up the ante even further with the most most upbeat and soaring chorus and melodies of the album.

It’s an absolute treat to see them bounce back and forth between urgent metal riffing and screams with more delicate melodies and poignant vocal lines.  A track like “Blossom” weaves the two components together, offering a greater emphasis on synth melodies and electronics but at the same time not being afraid to flex some metallic strength at the right times and give the song an elevated groove and balance when needed. There’s purpose and distinction to their genre-switching and that’s what makes it feel natural instead of cliched and forced.  The songwriting emphasizes a journey as opposed to a “look how I can mash genres” type of approach, and “Slow Down” (and the rest of the album for that matter) succeeds because it brings a graceful approach that reels you in with genuine emotion and immediate gratification.

Ultraviolet should bring As Everything Unfolds nothing but more eyes and success thrust upon them.  Heavy enough for metal fans to sink their teeth into it, but still retaining an ear for gorgeous melodies that tug at the heartstrings that people outside of the genre can gravitate towards. It’s a unique feeling that As Everything Unfolds has championed for two albums now, and it’s clear that they know exactly how to maximize their tools to gain an audience while being genuine and raw in tone.  Preview one song and it’ll inevitably stick in your head for the afternoon – an amazing talent for such an up-and-coming act.

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