We’ve talked a lot about the fine and gentle art of debut albums this year, touching on some good solutions to that problem and some lacking in flair and subtlety. However, most debut albums are neither brilliant or terrible but are rather perfectly acceptable pieces of music, containing plenty of potential but lacking a finish that expresses it completely. This is the case with Unconscious Distrubance‘s debut LP, Shooting At The Moon. Its catchy mix of post metal, Tool-esque riffing and varied vocals catches the ear and entertains, but ultimately it’s reined back from true greatness by several glaring deficiencies in its overall presentation.
From the first track, ‘Camouflage’, the feel of this album is cleverly laid. What we’re going to be dealing with here is an album somber in nature but with enough rage and power mixed in to lift it up from simply dredging the bottom. As the clear vocals translate into the harsh and the entire track tacks on a heavier feel, we’re immediately reminded of Soen; the emotional emphasis on the vocals clearly stems from the same place and the role of the drums and bass is reminiscent of said dark progressive invokers. The following track, ‘Verdict’, further cements this comparison, with the choir-like middle part set over rolling drums. The riff immediately after that, coupled with the vocals that are almost grunge in quality here, is one of the high points of the album.
The album has other high points, especially near its end. ‘Down the Well’ opens with brilliant vocals on the stitching point between growls and screams and the orchestration of the rhythm section with the guitars is pleasingly progressive. The Opeth-like unleashing of the riff into more varied guitars later on is also well done, mixing up the heavier feel of the track into something lighter and more agile. This execution should have been the leading light for the rest of the album and might have done much to relieve it of its faults but for some reason, this is one of the only places where this technique is employed.
The issue here is that the three tracks in between, and to some lesser extent the closing track, are too similar. The basic progression between quieter parts in the beginning, sometimes even spotted with tribal drumming that again hark back to Tool, a heavier C-section and then an emotional closing is one we are familiar with all too well. Instead of creating those middle parts that unravel the basic tune and play around with it, much of the album doesn’t take off. The basic structure is allowed to carry on up until the closing of the track and, indeed, the album. This is typical of debut albums: the self-confidence and assurance needed to truly dice up your basic sound are often still missing.
Closing track ‘Hollow’ is a good example of this. Spanning 14 minutes, it should have made for a different and pattern breaking closing. But instead, it’s a microcosm of the album as a whole; it suffices itself with dips and rises in its energy, juggling back and forth between post metal and more progressive influences. In essence though it is enjoyable, just like the rest of the album: it’s well produced and the basic ideas are interesting enough to hold attention for most of it. There’s definitely promise here; perhaps when looking at the future the band can gather their courage and dive deep into the originality that lies beneath their basic premise.
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Unconscious Disturbance’s Shooting at the Moon gets…