November 17, 2013

Universe217 - Never

By Kevin Page. Change. I'm not quite sure how I even stumbled upon this one. I've never seen or heard the band mentioned on any metal sites or through friends, so I guess seeing "experimental doom metal" made me click on it out of pure curiosity.
By Kevin Page.

I'm not quite sure how I even stumbled upon this one. I've never seen or heard the band mentioned on any metal sites or through friends, so I guess seeing "experimental doom metal" made me click on it out of pure curiosity.

What exactly is experimental doom metal anyways? I still can't answer that question. But I can say this is one of the best albums of 2013. This Greek band has been around since 2005, this being their 3rd album, released by the Greek label, Venerate Industries. Vocalist, Tanya Leontiou, is the standout here (no offense to the bandmates who do more than an admirable job in the song writing department). She reminds me of a metal version of Ann Wilson from Heart. Yes, the Seattle rock band from the 70's (who are still going strong mind you). Tanya's voice is powerful, soaring and dripping with emotion, without ever going too far to make you think it's being forced or trying to sound retro. It just oozes naturally. Musically this is doom metal, no huge surprises there. There's a hint of that old school vibe and feel, but its in the background and never screams out too loudly. A plethora of bands these days are on the whole "let's be retro, its the trendy thing to do, I can squeeze onto that bandwagon". Thankfully, Universe 217 is easily able to avoid this, mixing modern doom with some subtle nods to the past. If that's too "experimental" for ya, I pity thee

Tagged with 2013, experimental doom metal, Kevin Page, Universe217
  1. It may not be "forced", but she's clearly oversinging every note.

    I don't usually have the "Pavlovian Rage Response" (to quote JC) to clean vocals; these are particularly grating.

    1. But she does it so well :)

      Like most other things it's a matter of taste. But she does show more restraint in the later tracks, especially "She" is beautiful.

  2. If you like constant shrieking and that horrific timbre, more power to you. I can't hack it.

    I'm sure you'll disagree with that assessment too. Nothing I can do about it.

    1. Another one to put in Box With Albums We Disagree On :)

    2. I think it might be what my British friends might call a "Marmite voice." Like the "food" of the same name, there aren't going to be a lot of in-between reactions--it's going to be love or hate.

      I have to admit that it rubbed me the wrong way on first listen, but it grew on me. The Ann Wilson comparison makes a certain amount of sense, but it's more Ann Wilson combined with Janis Joplin, which is a whole different thing entirely. When I read "Ann Wilson," I expected it to be that clear-as-a-bell voice like hers, so I think that colored my first impression.

      Luckily, I read that Ann Wilson makes a guest appearance on the new Deicide album*, so we'll get some more of her soon.

      *This is not true. But it should be.

    3. The Joplin comparison makes sense now that I think about it. I guess I listen to HEART enough for whole life that its the first thing that stuck in my mind.

      I find it fascinating how polarizing her voice is. Friends who I've shared this with are either love/hate as well.. I'm not sure why though.

      And for the record, my other favorite female metal singers are: Agnette (Madder Mortem) & Farida (The Devil's Blood) if that gives you a "window to my world"

    4. I'm going to say something that will surely surprise you (and Max): I'm not into the Devil's Blood either. The phrase "horrific timbre" applies just as equally.

      As for my favorite female metal singers: Does Julie Christmas count? Also: Ihriel (Peccatum), Mel Mongeon (Fuck the Facts), and Laurie Sue Shanaman (Ludicra).

    5. I'm totally feeling the Joplin vibe y'all are talking about. I'm not super into this kind of vocal style but really appreciate how its all mixed together. The drawn out guitar notes seem a bit louder in the mix, which is nice since sometimes bands with powerful vocalists let them sit a little too high.

      Also, good call on "She," Max, much more restrained for sure.

  3. Amazing band - thanks for unearthing it.