Unhold has been an active band for over 25 years beginning in 1992, fusing together a unique mix of sludge, doom, and post metal and in the process cementing themselves as a staple in the scene. Unhold is like a heavy metal experimental astronaut constantly in search of things out of this world and blazing new paths. After many years as a quartet, in 2012 Unhold united three rough edged and enticing voices, guitars, keys / synth, bass and drums following their mission to merge beauty and beast into one hybrid creature – fierce, intimidating, beautiful and compelling. The band is comprised of Reto Wittwer on bass, Miriam Wolf adding piano as well as vocals, Philipp Thöni shredding on guitar and providing clean vocals, Daniel Fischer behind the drums and Thomas Tschuor on guitar and belts out the harsh vocals. Unhold are routinely playing stages all over the world and have played alongside bands such as Shrinebuilder, A Storm of Light, Zeal & Ardor, Zatokrev, Minsk, Crowbar, and Torche. As you can see those bands they have played alongside vary by genre drastically. Unhold has a unique enough sound that they can almost fit any bill alongside any band regardless of their genre or sub-genre in the rock or metal world. The bands latest release is ‘Here Is The Blood’ which released November 9, 2018 via Czar Of Bullets. The album was mixed and mastered by Andrew Schneider in New York whilst in daily contact with the band. It was recorded by Christoph Noth at Studio La Fonderie in Fribourg, Switzerland. The results are for all to hear. Andrew Schneider and his experience and sonic mastery shines throughout their songs, as it has with other bands he has mixed such as Unsane, Cave In, Ken Mode, Big Business, and Shrinebuilder. ‘Here Is The Blood’ is the follow up to 2015’s ‘Towering’ and the band yet again expands on their journey in exploration of sound.
‘Here Is The Blood’ begins with the track “Attaining The Light” which happens to be the longest track on the album coming in at over 8 minutes. The song begins very somber in somewhat of a funeral doom style. Then we hear Miriam Wolf’s hauntingly beautiful vocals. The lyrical content is passionate and meaningful with themes of death and despair. We then get the harsh vocals by Thomas that helps give the song that metal edge in contrast with Miriam’s melodic approach. Thomas along with Philipp provide the guitar work that carries this song the whole 8 minute distant without becoming repetitive or stagnant. The way the song ends almost coincides with the lyrical content. As one lyric reads “And I ask. Are you gone? I can’t touch. The cold stone.” That same feeling of not knowing connects with the song as it doesn’t have a sharp ending, the song simply slows down and fades away. Moving on to the track “Curse Of The Dime”, it begins with a slowed down groove mainly created by the rhythmic bass drum by Daniel Fischer. This song has much more of a progressive feel when it comes to the vocals, but we still have those heavy doom riffs leading the way. The vocals this time led by Philipp’s clean melodic tone. Then the harsh vocals by Thomas again make an appearance and balance everything out. There is a complexity to their songs both lyrically and with the instruments that sometimes takes a few listens to truly comprehend everything that is going on and the layers of sound. “Pale” begins with a luminous riff with the bass coming in and providing a deep rooted groove. Right around the 2 minute mark the light riffage becomes distorted and Thomas begins to howl in his gravely pitch. It’s compelling how the song began and where it has metamorphosized by the end. The riffs remain distorted and chug along with the vocals, both of which encapsulate a heaviness that can only be stopped with an abrupt ending. The song showcased the beautiful and rhythmic guitar work to open the song and slowly but surely incorporated distortion and more doom based riffs. It’s just another example of the way the band compounds so many styles and soundscapes into one single track without creating chaos in the process.
Unhold has created a complexity of styles and sounds with ‘Here Is The Blood’. The way the band is able to incorporate different styles and still maintain a common thread throughout the album is monumental. Integrating 3 vocalists with 3 very tones and styles is what some would call a burden, but Unhold takes those voices and finds ways for each of them to shine while still sustaining their composition as one complete unit. Give ‘Here Is The Blood’ a listen and allow it to take you on a trip through layers style and sound.