Album: Unified in Void
Label: AOP Records
Genre: Black Metal/Melodic Death Metal
Release Date: November 30, 2018
Groza is a fledgling band from Bavaria, Germany that has recently released their debut album gaining a ton of critical acclaim in the process. “Unified in Void” comes at just the perfect time in the year. As the days get colder and the sunlight starts to dissipate faster, the black metal melancholy that is this album serves as a great soundtrack to the season (Christmas music be damned).
“Unified in Void” is an album that borrows heavily from already established black metal tropes while putting enough of a spin on the music to make it stand out against the other black metal acts with similar sounds. The album starts simple enough, arpeggiated chords give way to traditional black metal blast beats. Each instrument plays their respective parts in a relatively standard fashion however, it is the sum of the parts that end up elevating the music into greatness. The title track sets up the pace and feel for the album, pounding black metal, while throwing in several curve balls such as tempo changes and the cymbal flurries that add to the dynamic feel of the song. Once the mood has been successfully set, ‘Ouroboros’ kicks in with a driving melodic sound with a black metal backdrop sound that helps the song develop as different passages and riffs are introduced. There is a great interplay between the faster sections with traditional blast and the slowed down sections which allow the guitar to develop the ambiance of the song.
The tone of the album however, starts to change once ‘Amongst the Worms’ begins to play. The sound of this song is one of melodic death metal with some black metal underpinnings reminiscent of “Jester Race” – “Colony” era In Flames. Tremolo guitar picking gives the songs a beautiful melancholy feel without sacrificing any of the ferocity. This trend somewhat continues with the song ‘Unworthy’, another beautiful piece of music that starts of in a very melodic manner but changes into some ferocious riffs towards the end thus setting the stage for the very last song.
‘Thanatos’ is a song that demands your attention both lyrically and musically. In Greek mythology, Thanatos is supposed to represent death. In psychology, it represents the human engagement in activities that seek to bring an end to life. Lyrically, the song talks about human arrogance and our desire to strive for immortality but in the end, we are all “a glimpse in eternity”. Musically, there is a ton happening. Two minutes of instrumental black metal open up the song with a sound that could be used as the soundtrack to the end of the world. Some of the fastest playing in the album can be found here and several different musical passages can be found within the songs 7 minute length. From slower, cleaner sections to punctuated riffs that will have you headbanging until your head falls off, this songs is easily one of the highlights of the album.
“Unified in Void” is an album with so much to give. Fast paced black metal and melodic passages pepper the whole album and give it a dynamic feel that can’t be fully grasped with just one listen. Although it might have calling cards from bands such as Mgla and Agalloch, this album manages to be a very impactful take on black metal. This album does a lot of things right, it’s not perfect and I think Groza can do more to differentiate themselves in the genre, but I can safely say that this will be my pick for our website’s album of the month list. As the days continue to get colder, here in sunny Texas, my only wish is for the perfect snow day so I can use it as a backdrop while listening to this album again.
1. Unified in Void
3. Amongst the Worms
Total Playing Time: 27:40