Unreqvited is the name of a one-man musical entity from Canada, and ‘Mosaic II’ is the guy’s fourth full-length studio offering. Considering his debut album, ‘Disquiet’, only appeared in 2016, that’s some musical prolificacy right there. In fact, I believe there might’ve been an EP and a split release in there at some point, too! Although, of course, I cannot comment on the quality of his previous work, as I’m a newcomer to Unreqvited, when this arrived for review via Prophecy. Perhaps I need to delve into his back catalogue, though, as ‘Mosaic II’ is really rather fantastic.
Dark and depressing, yet simultaneously with moments of optimism, it’s a clever musical paradox at work in Unreqvited’s art, and a fusion of contrasting emotions that’s kind of characterised by an emphatic ambivalence. Which is a positive, I hasten to add. Some passages of music have been forged around prominent post-rock paradigms (check out 'Pale' for the epitome of such); others have bursts of idiomatically black metal prominence (like with ‘Wasteland’); whereas some just seem to be doing their own thing to forge the dismal/optimistic duality (‘Disorder’, for example). And then there’s the likes of ‘Transience I - The Ambivalent’, which is characterised by pervasively dark sounds over its five minute duration. So, there’s much variance here, yet it all gels and binds perfectly, to deliver its overall sense of menacing and comforting irresolution. If I had to pinpoint one prominent emotion in the listening experience, then it would be anxiety. Even when there are moments of optimism that shine through, there’s the constant, underlying feeling of dread that any thinly veiled sense of elation will be swept away in a mire of misery at any moment. Incessantly, it is.
Generally, there's never any expectations for many black metal vocalists to be comprehensible to the point of being able hear and confidently decipher entire lyrics from the their growled words, but here, with Unreqvited, it sounds like there are no words at all. Instead, we have a guy who seems to just randomly and sporadically growl and scream with exasperated despair, as if using his voice as an extra instrument to add a layer of malice and anguish. There might be words, but I'm fucked if I can hear any. Either way, it works a treat! Overall, ‘Mosaic II’ is damn impressive stuff. And I recommend many repeated listens to appreciate all the wonderful nuances of this rather great album.
Review by Mark Holmes
10th January 2020
5) Transience I - The Ambivalent
6) Transience II - The Gentle Void
7) Transience III - The Static
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"If I had to pinpoint one prominent emotion in the listening experience, then it would be anxiety. Even when there are moments of optimism that shine through, there’s the constant, underlying feeling of dread that any thinly veiled sense of elation will be swept away in a mire of misery..."