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Unholy ‎- The Second Ring Of Power 2-LP (Black vinyl)

€19.90

Ever taken hallucinogenic drugs? Ever dared to then embark on days of adventure and incessant delirium, assaulting your mind with yet more intoxicants, until your body can take no more. Have you tried fucking a girl whilst in this state? Or was that some strange vision that crawled out of your subconscious? Well this album would be very appropriate as a soundtrack to such things. It makes me insane, listening to it, it makes me want to jump out of a tall building and see if can float on air. If the intensity of their first “From the Shadows” could ever be surpassed, then this is it.

I cannot describe the musical approach Unholy takes here as it needs to be heard in any hope of understanding it. I can only compare it to their other work and the first album is a good starting point. This is a lot tighter and sometimes faster, but still a slow, psychedelic crawl of an album. The only similarity here are the vocals – same guy, same pained groaned scream. It’s actually quite amazing – try replicating it, go from a throaty roar to a piercing shriek, it can’t be done! He really refined his singing style for this disk. What is more he performs what can be described as vocal solos, the equivalent to a Shakespearian soliloquy in harsh, screaming tones throughout the album. Unholy cannot be accused of rehashing here either – the songs bear no resemblance to past material, except for “Procession of Black Doom” which is taken from a 1990 demo of the same name. It’s actually the simplest song here, underpinning the fact that they have given more room to the bass guitar here, which is granted a slightly coarse, twangy sound. The song also has some of those ethereal keyboards that Sigh used on their early works. It’s absolutely brilliant.

The guitars are even thinner and they perform insane leads that approach those of David Guilmor (Pink Floyd) in their strangeness. The rhythm section is a lot more fleshy – on the first album everything was on the surface so to speak, hear it if you can, this one hides some melodies in the mix, creating a much more subliminal feeling. Every now and again a song would break into a laid-back acoustic/keyboard section with whispered vocals and eternal sorrowful music, washing the senses with a longing for something distant, unattainable. These really make the album…Occasionally Unholy’s fabled female singer - Veera Muhli steps in. This adds a new and surprising edge to the music. She performs seldom, but her singing fits the occasion perfectly, oddly grim for a woman and similar in style to “Gray Below” on “From the Shadows”.

This album is better-written than the first, thus making is easier on the ear. The music remains overwhelmingly intense, the moods it creates are sad and profound. It is no small wonder that the band took an extended break after this, as I do not think this work can ever be surpassed in grandeur.