Review Summary: A great album from a sad band
Unloco was an alternative metal/hard rock band from Austin, Texas, USA. Unloco came together in 2000 and broke up in 2003. During those years they recorded two full length albums and one Ep. They were a band that had a very sad and unlucky career. Unloco released their debut in 2001, in a year that was very grievous for them. Joey Duenas, the vocalist of Unloco had a very rough year. He had a lot of *** going on in his personal life and he was slowly destroying his powerful voice. To add to that sad fact, right after the release of Healing, Unloco's guitarist Brian Arthur left the band to join Goldfinger. That took place right when it shouldn't have, before Unloco's touring. So thanks to that Unloco had to cancel the tour that they had planned to support their new release and started looking for a replacement for Arthur. Even more disapponting for the band was the factor that their debut did not do well. The sales of the album were low and Unloco received very little support from their label Maverick. But all this did not unnerve Unloco, who were convinced that they needed to continue. They soon found a replacement for Arthur, a new guitarist called Marc Serrano, who was a perfect fit for the band. And so, with a new guitarist, Unloco started to record their do-or-die album, titled Becoming I.
Becoming I is an alternative metal/hard rock album which is made with big emotions, hope and most importantly, with heart. Unloco put their best in this record and didn't care if this album would sell millions or just mere hundreds. They just focused on the music itself, not on the profits that they could have from this album, and that is seen very well in this record. The album starts with the track "Crashing". "Crashing" begins with some nice, careful electric guitar picking and then blasts into the aggressive prelude which quickly goes to the softer main part. The vocal performance what Joey Duenas offers on that track is very variable. He's voice goes from mellow to aggressive to whispering to aggressive again. He's voice is very melodic and is backed-up nicely by the semi-aggressive guitar riffs and precise drumming. The next rack called "Failure" features acoustic guitars, but the general build-up is very similar to the first song, the only difference being the absence of the aggressive prelude. This build-up technique is used throughout most of the album. There are some exceptions though. The first exception is definitely the song "Hands and Knees", which is a very good, fast-paced hard rock song, which has some neat riffing , once again precise drumming, and the melodic voice of Joey Duenas which becomes almost begging in the chorus.
The songs "Bruises" and " Making Me Hate You" represent the aggressive side of the album. They feature some aggressive screaming and singing from Duenas, some really powerful power chords and riffing, and smooth drumming. "Drowning in it" and "Empty" are arguably the best songs of the album. These songs feature all the good that is in Unloco's music: good prelude, melodic but yet aggressive chorus, some neat riffing, great vocal performance by Duenas, great lyrics, and an interesting bridge. The album ends with a soft, really sad track called "Texas". "Texas" is a pure blooded ballad, and a great one it is. The only instruments used in that song are acoustic guitars. The vocals are really sad, calm but yet still powerful. The lyrics are sang with a 200% emotion and the singing is done so perfectly that for some emotional people it can bring a tear to the eye. "Texas" is a perfect way to end this album and it really represents the whole sad, unlucky career of Unloco.
Generally this album is nothing mind-blowing instrumentally. The drumming is fitting, smooth and precise, but it's not very complex. The basslines are quite easy, but they are heard very finely and they do their job well. The riffs are very neat, but they also lack complexity. The vocalist Joey Duenas is the factor that really brings this album to life, and this is pretty surprising since Duenas looks like a big, strong, angry, fit and even more pissed off version of Eminem. And from a man with that kind of a look one probably would not expect a great, melodic and full-of-emotions vocal performance.
So all in all this is a great, melodic and full of emotions alt.metal/hard rock album by a band that had a very sad career, but made good music despite the fact that they had a record company who did not support them very much and a small fan base.