Universe217
Never


4.0
excellent

Review

by Voivod STAFF
March 29th, 2013 | 41 replies


Release Date: 03/13/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Should your doom metal be adventurous, let this album grow inside you and prepare to be amazed.

The more people drive themselves into hard copy or digital sites in order to find new and exciting music from underground outfits, the more prevalent it becomes that there is an ever increasing cluster of excellent bands lying in total obscurity and patiently accumulating strength to reach their critical mass, day after day, concert after concert, album after album. One such act is Universe217 a female-fronted doom metal outfit from Athens, Greece. The band made a credible fuss within the Hellenic metal circuit with its eponymous 2007 debut album, as the latter presented a highly intriguing flavour of doom metal complemented with a fresh instrumental perspective and the intimate female vocals of front woman Tanya.

Concerts that took place within Greece further disseminated the band’s potential upon the land, a potential that felt rather restrained within the “laboratory” environment of a recording studio. Their second album Familiar Places, issued in 2011, saw Universe217 being further liberated from the universal ethics of doom metal, whereas some fans and press outside Greece began to take hold of what was the real deal with this band, gracing it with raving reviews and comments. Vague whispers and sparse updates in local press message boards had it that the band had commenced work for a third album, an album that would reach the face of the earth within a shorter time interval than the 4-year period that intervened between the previous two. That wait is over and in all honesty, the new Universe217 album, titled Never, was worth waiting for.

The album starts with Tanya’s voice emerging from nothingness and gradually rocketing itself towards the stratosphere in the album’s majestic doom metal opener “Mouth”. Two things become instantly clear; the sound production has finally met her vocal abilities in full, whereas optimal depth has been finally granted to the rest of instrumentation. The second is that Tanya’s voice is devouring planets, hands down. When her pitch goes over the top, her sound is a non-trivial combination of several performing styles, with Geoff Tate’s otherworldly vocals in Rage For Order, Johan Lanquist’s monumental work in Epicus Doomicus Metallicus and Melanie Bock’s aggressive performance in Megace’s underground tech thrash gem Inner War being some representative references. On certain occasions (“She”, “Never”), her tone comes down to earth and becomes mesmerizing and somber, only to gradually build tension for her future outbursts. Overall, her ever fluctuating dissonant performance carries a substantial load of angst, on par with the desolate and abstract nature of the lyrics.

Tanya’s vocals are allowed to settle in an equally intriguing instrumental substrate. Nominally, the music files under the doom metal moniker, yet Universe217 draw a handful of aces out of their sleeves in order to differentiate themselves from the norm. The placement of the songs in the album is one of them. The more “monolithic”, epic/majestic doom metal anthems are placed at the start (“Mouth”) and at the end of the album (“Electrified”, “Never”) and they are evidence of a band acting like a tight hand grip disallowing each finger from entering the spot light premises. In “Mouth” for example, the piano notes are seamlessly played, as they are homogeneously infused into the rock instrumentation. The same applies for the lead guitars, even though they are liberal in terms of adopted melodies. The latter extend from traditional doom metal to post-rock (“Never” among others – first Red Sparrows album comes to mind).

In the remainder of the songs, the band is shown to be way more volatile in terms of content, form and spectrum of transmitted vibes, with doom metal being seamlessly blended with oriental influenced/up-tempo heavy, post- and psychedelic rock. Some of these songs (“Stay”, “Harm”) will initially seem as half-finished interludes. With the exception of “She”, in which Universe217 succeeded in making an awesome 10-minute psychedelic doom metal song sound like a 3-minute affair, this is a conduct on their behalf, initiated with some error in Familiar Places and near-perfectly implemented in Never. Instead of fully adhering to the inherent doom metal song writing ethics with the overly long temporal length per song and the stale repetition of similar music themes, Universe217 keep their narrative process short and concise like a screenplay for a short film, where the plot has to unfold in a fast pace, maintaining the reader’s interest intact. Oddly enough, their patent works great and gives high replay value to their material, a situation not so often met in doom metal.

When all is said and done; Never is undoubtedly a serious step forward for the band. The intimate, yet flawed song writing conduct adopted in the second album is further refined, while the band has shed a different light upon its numerous drives. If anything, this album deserves to be heard by as many people as possible, as Universe217 is an act on the rise.



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user ratings (21)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2013


6286 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Stream - http://universe217.bandcamp.com/





Constructive criticism is most welcome.

Digging: Madred - Supersonic Brainfuck Overdrive

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2013


7122 Comments


Hell yes!

Vakarian12
March 29th 2013


3906 Comments


fuck this is good.

Digging: Ghost Brigade - IV - One with the Storm

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2013


7150 Comments


Yeah I'm only a few tracks in but this sounds fucking awesome.

scissorlocked
March 29th 2013


3511 Comments


time for sputnik to be introduced to this



Digging: Distance - Outer Limits

MichaelSnoxall
March 29th 2013


12163 Comments


the band name REALLY turns me off

scissorlocked
March 29th 2013


3511 Comments


silly complaints...

MichaelSnoxall
March 29th 2013


12163 Comments


Well, it does. It's like someone telling you to go watch an amazing movie and you ask what it's called and they say, "Cumbusters 2000"



YUJOS
March 29th 2013


952 Comments


By that logic you would have never listened to Cannibal Corpse,Iron Maiden etc etc.

Det_Nosnip
March 29th 2013


374 Comments


This sounds like a cross between Madder Mortem & Mar de Grises. Awesome!

scissorlocked
March 29th 2013


3511 Comments


listened to the album and it's pretty good

anyone interested in the band might also check their debut, it's awesome

Mewcopa0
March 29th 2013


1803 Comments


"Cumbusters 2000"

You wouldn't watch that? Paaathetic.

manosg
March 29th 2013


6536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Seems very interesting. I will definitely check this out.

Digging: Witchfynde - Give 'em Hell

fromtheinside
March 29th 2013


19029 Comments


damn. that opening track

Digging: Ibex Throne - Ibex Throne

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2013


6286 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

^^^^Agreed...

First time i listened to it, I listened to it again some 10-20 times non-stop, it is THAT good.

lostforwords
March 29th 2013


446 Comments


Excellent review, I' m not sure if I should bother listening to this. Their first album certainly
wasn't my cup of tea

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2013


6286 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This is better than the first album, the music is more refined.




the band name REALLY turns me off

Some metalcore bands have far more worse/pretentious names.

CaptainDooRight
March 29th 2013


30251 Comments


I enjoyed the read sir, good job.

TrantaLocked
March 29th 2013


1555 Comments


Interesting music.

DropdeadWHA
March 29th 2013


704 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Her vocals are brilliant. Gonna check this out. Great review, too.



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