Unreqvited
Beautiful Ghosts

I wish I had heard Canadian, one person act Unreqvited, before I reviewed the excellent EP from Christian Cosentino earlier this spring as they would have been an excellent reference point for that review. And there are so few for this style of outside of the box, happy but despondent, organic shoegaze/black metal past the usual Deafheaven (though certainly not on the new album…), Dawnwalker, Ghostbound, Alcest, Ghost Bath references, and Unreqvited is certainly fully in that realm, if not even more deeply into the ‘gaze’ part.

With a surprisingly large, prolific discography to their name, I’m surprised I had not come across the brain child of 鬼 before, as I generally dig this kind of black metal. This is that perfect blend of softer, uplifting, triumphant keyboards and atmospherics mixed with distant howls and shrieks’ (though they are rarely used, making this a 50% ish instrumental album) and layered melodic, melancholic guitars and of course the same blend in the themes and lyrics (“All is Lost”, “Cherish”, “All is Found”, etc) that deal with the central theme of ‘love’.

The well produced music is indeed beautiful and ghostly, and at times gorgeously despondent, with some utterly wilting moments of wonderous orchestral and depressive blackened symbiosis such as the opener “All is Lost” and “Autumn & Everly” which feature some stunning piano work amid the rending howls and screams. And later in the album, you get the the largely instrumental, personal favorite, “Funeral Pyre”, which has a sumptuous, soaring choral opening and transitions about 2 minutes and 6 minutes in that are just to die for  and the almost 10 minute title track, a rangy, patient, emotional roller coaster that ends with a lovely high note that leads into the simple, uplifting, elegant closing chapter, “All Is Found”.

That said, there is quite a bit of atmospheric/ambient filler such as “Reverie”, “Cherish” and emotive closer “All is Found” which while beautiful and have their place in the love and loss themed concept, but take up about 13 minutes of the albums 42 minute run time.  I would have preferred more of the mixed elements that have more of the somber black metal to complement the wondrous atmospherics.

Certainly not a release for the grizzled, frosty, face paint and spikes types. But for more open minded,  fans of the bands mentioned in the opening paragraph, this is a must have purchase, and worth it for some of the standout moments alone, regardless of some of the filler.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 23rd, 2021

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