Unreqvited
Mosaic II: la déteste et la détresse


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (343 Reviews)
January 12th, 2020 | 60 replies


Release Date: 01/10/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The anti-venom to love and zeal...

When Deafheaven released Sunbather back in 2013 it sent shockwaves through the extreme metal community. The idea of bringing black metal and ‘prettier’ soundscapes isn’t exactly anything new, but Sunbather managed to reach the loftier heights the niche of this genre had to offer. Since then, most acts in a similar vein have focused largely on the atmosphere that comes with their soundscapes, rather than throwing two worlds into each other, like spaghetti on a wall - hoping for the best of what’s considered. For the one-manned, Unreqvited's fourth record Mosaic II: la déteste et la détresse picks up where Mosaic I: l'amour et l'ardeur left off, continuing in this very essence of sunbathercore with particularly satisfying results.

Even when compared directly to its predecessor, Mosaic II: la déteste et la détresse is a more guitar, tenebrous driven affair. In giving this album a more rhythmic, guitar-based focus, the album’s layerings build into the layered synth and all-encompassing atmosphere. Considering the rather positive overtones found within the first record’s title, Love and zeal it makes sense that the translation behind Mosaic II... (hate and distress) would bring the yin to the yang before it. The album’s opening track “Nightfall” paves the way for the thoughts mentioned above, as surging riffs and typical Unreqvited lush melodies weave into an onslaught that churns the very air, drubbing the listener in the process. The mood, though, is clearly darker; transformed and more fitting to the act’s post-atmospheric-blackgaze landscape. It’s here that “Nightfall” quashes the usual moods found within the very stereotypes of black metal. Not unlike a dream tip-toeing the edge of a nightmare that offers simultaneous hope and despair with its use of simple, repeated arpeggio patterns and building synth work. If anything Unreqvited is guilty of packing a lot into a track and in turn, the entire of a record.

Given just how pigeon-holed music like this has been in the last few years, there’s a generally jaded set of expectations that get lost in a whirlwind of tremolo riffing and jagged black metal cuts. Neither dynamic one-two punch of “Wasteland” and “Pale” however conforms to a single genre, adapting to boisterous icy metal and twinkly melodic shoegaze in a single stanza with enough gusto to satiate even the most die-hard Alcest fans, while leaving plenty of room for more wailing screams or smooth croons to fill some sizable vocal gap throughout the album.

Taking into consideration Mosaic II...’s shortcomings, it’s hard to look past the “Transience” trilogy that closes the album. Sure, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the ambient, occasionally minimalistic and somewhat electronic shorter pieces that expand on the gazey nuances found before them - but the tracks’ placement is baffling. Had these tracks been placed throughout the record (rather than its end), the graceful melancholy would have broken the near overwhelming wall of sound found in the album’s first half. For Unreqvited, this experimentation could have done with better track placement.

Despite the darker atmospheric nuance to be found within Unreqvited’s latest musical chapter, there are moments of tranquility, longing and hope that don’t stick to the foundations that came before it. Light choir is often wrapped in layers of synth work or smothered by cutting riffs. As listeners, we may still be stuck firmly in the expectations left by other premier albums, but there’s still a few moments where all the style-flattery and genre appropriation starts to pay off - Unreqvited are making steady headway in that particular department. Put simply, Mosaic II: la déteste et la détresse is an expansive piece of music with flaws that are outweighed by the sum of its parts. It’s not perfect, but it’s wholesome, satisfying and forward thinking, giving us another perfect example of why sunbathercore will remain relevant for at least a little longer yet.




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user ratings (53)
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2020


12766 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I had contrib bros/local wizards Dewi and Johnny take a good look over my tired ass for this one.



Take a listen here:

https://unreqvited.bandcamp.com/album/mosaic-ii-la-d-teste-et-la-d-tresse





3.8/5

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2020


9989 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agree w everything said here

Digging: Stormlight - Natoma

luci
January 12th 2020


12519 Comments


that sunbather reference intro is the biggest cliche in blackgaze reviews

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2020


9989 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This one actually warrants it tho, this is Sunbathercore

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2020


12766 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

sunbather reference intro is...




I agree but the sound movement is too relevant to be ignored. I also believe we could be finding other reference points for music like this but what Deafheaven did with that release kind of forces a lot of hands.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2020


20554 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't see anything wrong with it, if the point is to appeal people that like Sunbather.



You like Sunbather? Here, have a spoonful!

Digging: Jaga Jazzist - Pyramid

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2020


12766 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I think the issue here isn't whether you like Sunbather, but rather the fact that it's used as a basis in every conversation regarding bands of a similar nature.

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2020


27227 Comments


This is more fun than Sunbather tbh

Digging: Coaltar of the Deepers - Come Over to the Deepend

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2020


12766 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I kinda agree

DungeonBoy
January 13th 2020


7866 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Commenting to read your review later. This band is fairly big in the blackgaze scene but goes rather unnoticed around here for some reason. I've never been too big into their sound personally, but I feel like a lot of people on this site should like this

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2020


26868 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't agree that this is Sunbather-core at all, but given the enormity and impact of that album, I can't fault anyone for starting off a blackgaze review with a DFHVN comparison. However, I find this band to much more lush, orchestral, and cinematic that DFHVN has ever attempted to be and aside from the core of being "blackgaze" they don't really have too much in common tbh.

Digging: Bone Awl - An Obelisk Marks the Line

Spec
January 13th 2020


35969 Comments


This is dope.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2020


12766 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I don't agree that this is Sunbather-core at all




Why though? It has all the ear-marks of that niche with all the natural progressions of a scene going through the motions seven years later (more depth to the compositions, drenching atmospheres, synth heavy moods etc). To be fair, the whole blackgaze sound could be described as an Alcest meets Deafheaven with some pretty album art added for the sake of it.

CaptainDooRight
January 13th 2020


4334 Comments


Hey Robert nice find, I’m enjoying this so far cheers

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2020


12766 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Sup mr. capitano,



I'm kind of surprised on the low rate counts on their entire discog - and the lack of reviews to boot.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2020


26868 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

DFHVN at their core are a skramz/hxc band, and i think that’s very palpable in their music. Unreqvited very noticeably don’t share that influence, and I think even replace it with something like classic or movie soundtrack music.

CaptainDooRight
January 13th 2020


4334 Comments


Not much dude

I agree, I don’t get the low ratings either (on this album only because I haven’t heard the others yet, but I will def be checking them out)

sounds pretty quality to me and I love the feels

CaptainDooRight
January 13th 2020


4334 Comments


finished the first listen, loved it except for the final 3 tracks because I was wanting them to climax into some metal like the first 4 tracks have, so when I listen in the future I’ll just jams the ones I like

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 14th 2020


12766 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

DFHVN at their core are a skramz/hxc band




I think you've gone off track, while staying on track? Or did I get us off track while on track? I thought we were talking Sunbather-core, especially in regards to the movement, sound presumptions that tilted (if not spawned) a new style of music.



I do agree that Unreqvited - just to keep the topic moving onwards - have a huge cinematic quality not originally portrayed (at least not to this extent) in your typical Sunbatherness.

SpicyPikachu1
January 14th 2020


7 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I thought that the 3 ambient outro tracks were too long for their own good. Also I wasn't keen on them being the closing tracks to this record and Mosaic as a whole. It would've been much better in my opinion to place them in before Pale and Disorder (or just Disorder).



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