The Unravelling boldly challenges listeners with “Tear a Hole in the Collective Vision”
When you hear that an album’s name is something like “Tear a Hole in the Collective Vision”, you can’t really expect to be treated to just some run-of-the-mill set of tracks. You expect something a little more remarkable. Something as remarkable as the Unraveling’s backstory, which tells the tale of their lead singer, Steve Moore, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, and has since recovered, coming back to the duo in order to release more music. His partnership with Gustavo De Beauville (who creates the music) has now yielded this – their latest ten-track Rock/Metal album that I hope will challenge me as much as the title suggests.
The first track on “Tear a Hole in the Collective Vision” is “The Hydra’s Heart”, which has a dark, almost overwhelming atmosphere. Moore truly sends chills down your spine as he croons out some intricate lyrics “the dreamer moves through liquid fear as best he can”. Not to be outdone, Gustavo’s high octane instrumental combines some sizzling strings with riveting drums to really drive the track home. The song doesn’t even end by slowing down or any other typical means, but instead, the last minute sounds as if you are moving away, while the immortal track marches forward on its own.
This is followed up by “Lucky Me”, wherein the atmosphere becomes even more unnerving (wow) than before. The strings slow down a bit to allow for some ominous feedback to become audible, and then also puts more emphasis on Moore’s voice eerily fading in and out of the backdrop. But when it’s in the forefront, he just blows you away. The lyrics don’t help you get comfortable in any way either: “I have no soul, I have no voice, lucky me…”
What follows is the titular track, “Tear a Hole in the Collective Vision”. With a name like this, it was truly difficult not to expect something extraordinary, something at least a little groundbreaking. I was not disappointed at all. Moore is more “commanding” rather than “crooning” anything out here, asking the listener to join him in tearing a hole in the collective vision. I won’t dissect the message of the song (nor pretend that I understand it completely) but the intellectual lyricism is appreciated once again, as opposed to the lackluster wordplay of many pop songs today, The Unravelling also seems to be urging their listeners to take some form of wide-ranging influential action: “take off your frightened mask and breathe”.
Skipping ahead, we get to an interesting track titled “Master Drone”. I say interesting, because it really didn’t strike the right chord with me as much as the other songs did. The strings are a little lackluster, playing licks which, as they say in the track, “everyone knows” accompanied by a rather predictable (yet still quite creepy) progression chiming in the backdrop. Moore is also uninspiring in this one, and the entire song emerges as a far cry from the manner by which the earlier tracks blew me away.
The final song on the album is “We Have No Problems”, which oddly enough, is toned down a bit, both in terms of levels and general intensity. It was definitely an odd way to conclude such a provocative, powerful album. Moore sounds a bit droopy, and none of the hard-hitting percussion or skillful strings come through in the track. This might actually have been my least favourite track on the album as Gustavo and Moore fall a bit short right before crossing the finish line.
Their album name was definitely ambitious and bold, but I do feel as though the Unravelling rose to the challenge they placed before themselves. Most of the songs are perplexing, thought-provoking works of art complete with interesting message and high octane instrumentals. On the other end of the spectrum however, some tracks (in particular towards the end of the album) tend to fall off in terms of intensity and quality. But the duo did just enough to blow me away, and “Tear a Hole in the Collective Vision” is a record I’ll be listening to for the next little while, if just to try and understand the duo’s beautiful vision a little bit more.