ALBUM REVIEW: Unseen Faith – Evoke

Release Date: November 13th 2020
Label: Prime Collective
Website: www.unseenfaith.dk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/unseenfaith
Twitter: www.twitter.com/unseenfaithband

Rating:

It’s been over three years since Denmark deathcore revisionists Unseen Faith dropped their impressive debut full-length. ‘Waver’, for all of its shortcomings, was a refreshing combination of melodic metalcore tropes and slamming deathcore brutality, with remarkably technical flare.

On their sophomore effort, ‘Evoke’, there appears to be an earnest attempt to sonically expand these well-placed parameters. Fusing synthesisers and programmed electronics to an established sound feels very much like a leaf taken from the book of Bring Me The Horizon, and the results can vary quite consequentially.

Now, while there might’ve been a flourish here and there on their 2017 debut, opening track ‘Downfall’ makes it abundantly clear how much devotion has gone into this new creative leap, with nuanced melodic programming counteracting the slamming assault.

Before much praise can be awarded, however, we’re struck by the clunky, gang-vocal sporting misfire of ‘Hardwired’, complete with a cheesy, ultimately unflattering EDM pulse. That’s when the big issue with ‘Evoke’ reveals itself.

What’s worrying is the emerging pattern consisting of layers of glossy, artificial keys, synths, and basic programming that are becoming common practice, or are being perceived as adequate solutions to genre-stagnation. Simply piling on another dimension that doesn’t necessarily gel because a bigger band in the scene executed it successfully isn’t going to work. Progress essentially halts when it becomes the new norm.

Where Unseen Faith are concerned, it feels like these newly acquired artificial elements are majorly displaced when grinded against the low-end tech-chugcore which they excel in. Cuts like ‘Wrath’ and ‘Ode To Heresy’ fall somewhere between Emmure and Linkin Park, where vicious chugathons blend with electronic ambience and anthemic choruses. ‘Sempiternal’ can’t help but come to mind, and the question of identity rears its ugly head.

All the more frustrating is when a beast like ‘Heart In A Prison’ arises, eschewing the electronic frills in favour of a doom-slow opening before gestating into mammoth riffage and brain-splitting blast beats. Key moments like this illustrate the clear ability and brutality that the band truly harbour.

With more technical prowess and passion than a plethora of their peers, it’s disappointing that a three year gap has produced a work that shies away from its own intrinsic harshness. By opting for often unnecessary, unflattering and down right distracting programming and production, Unseen Faith have belaboured what should’ve been a triumphant return, into the age-old cliché of a difficult second album.