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Unit Wail - Beyond Space Edges CD (album) cover

BEYOND SPACE EDGES

Unit Wail

 

Zeuhl

3.56 | 12 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Arriving two years after their superb second album `Retort', 2015's `Beyond Space Edges' sees French Zeuhl/Avant- Garde/R.I.O band Unit Wail delivering another reliable set of noisy instrumental outbursts and dirty dark sinister grooves. While they don't really change the approach of the previous discs, the group does add some sparse vocals, violin and cello to bring it closer to sounds associated with other Zeuhl groups such as Univers Zero in a few spots, even though Unit Wail don't simply fit neatly into that sub-genre. But Shub-Niggurath guitarist Franck Fromy and his younger musical team-mates here work in more King Crimson sounds than ever before (the metallic noise of `Red', the New Wave sleekness of the `Discipline' era and the Mellotron majesty of the earlier period to be precise), perhaps even a pinch of Anglagard, along with plenty of gothic moodiness and psychedelic weirdness for another superb collection of ferocious little f**k-snap spasms of delicious noise and aggressive brooding moods.

The lavish CD booklet reveals, by way of Martin Peronard's surreal and bent illustrations, a baffling story of space travel that the music presents, and with that burst of colour on the front cover, it shouldn't be surprising to find Unit Wail's most colourful release to date. The opening few seconds of `Imminent Take-Off', with its tease of Fromy's droning guitars and ambient synth trickles soon gives way to eerie and Mellotron moodiness, electric piano tip-toes and thick murky upfront bass throughout the mysterious and edgy `Niggurat on the Moon'. `Through the Wormhole' is an up-tempo thrash of Adrian Luna's chunky bass constantly leaping forwards and retreating back to the shadows, Phillipe Haxaire's skittering drums, rippling electronics and grungy guitar tantrums, the 'Tron taking on a maddening infernal evilness. Equally lightly psychedelic, jazzy and even gothic, `Psycho-Active Atmosphere' is a ghoulish delight that shimmers with pulsing and playful devilish bass and guitars that jangle with an 80's Crimson sheen, and `Deep Inside Megalopolis' towers with a gothic symphonic imposing grandness, mud-thick guitars and mucky bass delivering filthy grooves amongst phasing synth skies.

The album takes an interesting detour with the more genuinely Zeuhl-styled `Polymorphus the Wise', a creeping gothic nightmare with a twisted, mock-operatic guttural male wordless vocal from guest Sam Benzo slithering through murmuring stuttering bass convulsions and strangled guitars. `Crash on Planet X' plods with menacing danger, and the spacey `Terelithic Spaceship' bristles with ballistic bass eruptions alongside Emmanuel Sicot-Vantalon's shimmering synths and even some welcome (if fleeting) lighter themes. One of the longer pieces at over six minutes means `D.N.A.A.T.M' offers more of a sustained mood, moving back and forth between careful unearthly ruminations and wild manic outbursts, and it's mix of building and crashing drums, buzzing electronics, and guitar and bass distortion is very disorientating and satisfying, nice creeping organ too! `Engage Mutation' is simply a killer rock-out that proves quite accessible, and the disc closes on a further lengthier exploration, `I See Earth' with guest Ana Carla Maza's groaning cello and scratchy demented violin, a vacuum of distortion, electronic trickles and unnerving harpsichord. It's another interesting diversion that oddly doesn't really build to a suitably exciting climax, but hopefully the band continues to explore sounds like this on future albums.

This is a very solid and frequently thrilling new work from Unit Wail, with endless energy and constant manic tearing instrumental displays, and Adrian Luna's bass playing is easily some of the absolute best to appear on a progressive-related release in 2015. Comparing it to their previous albums reveals a bit of repetition and a feeling of `same-old' in just a few stretches, even if it still all sounds satisfyingly wicked and shows great variety overall. Perhaps the band could soon explore longer, drawn-out pieces more often and opposed to so many blasting little fragments that come and go in an instant (the majority of the tracks here run just over the three minute mark)? But `Beyond Space Edges' is a successful crossover of everything from Zeuhl, avant-garde, goth and psych, Mellotron freaks will love the orgasm of 'Tron dripping over every inch of the disc, and it proves a very addictive and hypnotic album that crawls under your skin and begs to be played over and over!

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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