UNFYROS – Alpha Hunt (2022)REVIEW

δύναμις / ανεξαρτησία / αἰθήρ — Three years of channeling an atavist consciousness in transcendence now achieves properties of quintessence, a dynamic and independent force as common as the air itself well-hidden from the saneness of the individual. The unknown manifested in physical formulae, an obelisk of revelation in marbled detail, appears by the possessed hands of Oulu, Finland-based black metal duo Unfyros who’d reflect other-dimensional travels of the unhinged mind in conjure of this exceptionally fine debut full-length album. ‘Alpha Hunt‘ is the result of a search for individualized spiritual process, a calling forth of purposeful movements from darkest innards and instinct so that these fellowes might regularly achieve congress with unthinkable, unknowable forces which surround and inflict their curiosities, hidden in view. A dynamic and independent voice arises from their practices in trance, creating an obsidian font, an oily black pool to gaze into and upon the madness of their æther-bound cord and begin to seek, to hunt with similar purpose in mind.

Unfyros began and is yet primarily devised by highly regarded musician Anti Ittna H. who’d begun the process of actualization within solitary meditations circa 2018, the process is described as an unleashing of motorik and primal instinct wherein vocal seance and rhythmic capture were allowed to flow unhindered ’til promising results were achieved, bringing in professional percussion per Nox Vector to realize the potential of these incantations in early 2021. The outcome (per preview, ‘Into Sibylline Woods‘, 2022) arrived with ease by all accounts, steady yet often dissonant dual streams of distorted black metal guitar at ominous, ritualistic pace and with appreciably organische production value. Prominent feature of bass guitar tones lent a naturally doomed and growling pulsation beneath delirious synthesizer work, haunting layers jeweling the sky-flung waves of distortion as if meant to invoke the starlight cupping the forest clearing set scene; If you are familiar with the artist’s past work, and I doubt most are worthy in the slightest, a highly professional final render within a well-imagined space is very much expected (and delivered) yet this is a separate, equally personal emanation guided by the hidden hand and necessarily communicated through the spiritual affect natural to black metal. With ‘Alpha Hunt‘ we receive the complete set, the full corpus mysticum in scene and an incredibly thoughtful, heavily symbolic work considered above-and-beyond from all angles.

Though I could write numerous pages spurging over the artist’s inspirational work in Dolorian and might potentially find room to discuss the esoteric traditions of bands like Unholy and Barathrum otherwise but, these are completely peripheral considerations, aesthetic or generally unrelated to the still heavy metal conscious yet hypnotic black metal experience found on ‘Alpha Hunt‘. We could tangentially invoke the same level of spiritual conjuration and feeling in bands like Head of the Demon and Werian in description of Unfyros‘ effect, though they invoke doom and darkness with a decidedly different approach to pacing and dissonance in phrase. The most important observation to make from my point of view is that the feeling of their music is beyond ominous, a noumenal morbidity in the graveled, growling voice made phenomenal in spell or spectacle as the lull of their dirges as a serpent across the forest floor. Opener “The Dagger Within” and its paired station with “In Dawn Claws” had already prophesied this on their promotional EP from earlier this year, so, in plainest terms the already keen listener can expect (again) for that revelatory thought to be completed in ritual over the course of these ~38 minutes.

A Numinous Meeting” initially appears to have a tragic, or, waning bent to its earlier verses as it crumbles in swaying, shedding motions before ~1:44 minutes in wherein the guitars dilate in focus and stoke the fiery push of the piece into muscular movement. While the trancelike state achieved is not a complete alien within black metal surrealism there is an especially intoxicating effect that’d come from this piece in particular, and I’d found the greater momentum of the album flowed readily beyond this point. With some regularity the passage between “Enter the Monolith” and exceptional standout “The Cosmogyral Flame” I’d lost time, a blink of roughly six minutes wherein an entirely lucid mind would glaze. Upon closer observation the rhythm section had been a key factor in generating this trance upon repeat listens, a dark vacillation in an irregular space wherein the guitars almost decompress the atmosphere allowing the drumming to breathe and recede in the mix. Yes, a roundabout way to suggest a live in-studio presence, or, some emulation of the real interplay of instruments in a contained space but the stymied effect upon the mind nonetheless felt akin to possession.

Unquestionably immersed upon reaching the peak of “Onyxian (Abyss Mother)” the circle was completed in mind, fully recognizing the rhythmic language of Unfyros as it culminated while also appreciating this particular use of keyboard/synthesizer for atmosphere as the greater scene revealed. The scene set by the music matches the depiction found within the cover artwork via Namurian Visions and that’d point to the generally high standard of artwork, packaging, and multimedia created by the band otherwise be it unique photography, video and such. While the execution of the music is the main event all of these additional points of interest gather meaning quickly and the purpose of the band, however obscurant as it intends to be, begins to crystallize into an unforgettable release. In more practical terms it’d definitely taken quite a while to finally sit down and step into this world and stare into the abyss, so to speak. In figuring exactly what this was and where its intent lay I’d found the full listen meditative at first and just generally impressive as a menacing mid-paced black metal record all things considered. The result of regular listening over the course of a couple months was undeniably spiritual in my case and, while this does have some effect upon the enthusiasm of my overall recommendation, I believe most black metal fans will find the atmosphere and riffcraft equally effective even without said connection made. A very high recommendation is warranted.

Very high recommendation. (94/100)

Rating: 9.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Alpha Hunt
LABEL(S):Aural Hypnox
RELEASE DATE:September 30th, 2022

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