2015’s Towering lived up to its name, and was a monolithic and notable record. I said that Towering offered a complete listening experience, with each song having its own place and identity. Here Is the Blood is much the same in this regard, even if the places it takes the listener and the identity it adopts is different and belongs to itself.
The musical framework of the latest Unhold album consists of post-metal, doom, and sludge, all laced with an experimental and exploratory progressive edge. Comparisons with bands such as Neurosis, Isis, and Cult of Luna are appropriate, but misleading, as Unhold imbue the music with far too much of their own personalities to be mere copycats.
Multiple vocal styles are used across the album, both male and female, all of which are strikingly delivered and impressively performed. The quality of the vocals is matched by the quality of the rest of the music, but is an important part of the Unhold sound nonetheless. Synths further enhance the rich music, adding to the diversity of material that can be found across Here Is the Blood’s 49 minutes of playing time.
The music here is dense and frequently complex – structurally and emotionally – but not impenetrable. Indeed, there’s an openness to Unhold’s material despite how involved it can sometimes be. It’s accessible, yet intricate, with hooks and memorability baked into the expansive music, while simultaneously crafting enough depth and substance to result in a substantial and satisfying piece of work.
The songs make strong use of dynamics, and are primarily concerned with conveying the relevant feelings and moods, no matter what style of music is currently being favoured in any given track. Emotive and atmospheric, this is well-written music that speaks of a band that know their art and purpose well.
There’s a lot for the listener to absorb and digest on Here Is the Blood, and repeated spins are strongly recommended. Unhold have returned with a powerful and affecting new album, and I suggest you give it some time.