Unreqvited
Beautiful Ghosts


4.0
excellent

Review

by Sunnyvale CONTRIBUTOR (54 Reviews)
August 17th, 2021 | 52 replies


Release Date: 08/13/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An uneven but entrancing record from one of blackgaze’s most tantalizing artists

Beautiful Ghosts is the sixth full-length from Canadian one-man project Unreqvited. This is a fairly impressive catalog in a brief time window, as the first of those records came out in 2016. Unreqvited’s discography can broadly be classified into the burgeoning blackgaze movement, and the project has carved out a niche, even while lurking in the second tier behind such stalwarts as Alcest, Lantlos, and Deafheaven.

The relative lightness of the sound of most blackgaze artists compared to “trve” black metallers has caused the newer movement to catch a fair amount of flack, but even by the standards of blackgaze Unreqvited lands firmly on the milder end. While black metal shrieks and guttural vocals aren’t misplaced, the project’s typical emphasis is much more on crafting majestic soundscapes, sometimes within the metal sphere and sometimes by leaning further towards post-rock, shoegaze, ambient, and prog. Beautiful Ghosts is no exception to this tendency, and if anything this release sees the project sliding even further away from black metal orthodoxy.

Unreqvited’s biggest strength has always been the ability to sonically evoke a feeling or sensation, often with a style that approaches cinematic. Past works, at their finest, have left me drawn by the epically beautiful compositions to visions of fantastical locales and grandiose views. The flip side is that each of Unreqvited’s previous albums have also left me with the feeling that a few too many ideas were being crammed together, leading to an uneven tracklist and awkward flow between songs or segments. In the end, both these good and bad traits also make their appearances on this latest release, but overall this feels unusually cohesive and makes a solid argument for being Unreqvited’s best yet. While Unreqvited might still be trying to explore a little too much ground during the album’s runtime, the ideas largely come together and are well-executed.

Per the album’s Bandcamp page, Beautiful Ghosts is thematically concerned with the concept of love, which is undoubtedly an under-appreciated focus in the world of metal and metal-adjacent music. Unreqvited’s penchant for stunning album artwork strikes again, and the music presented here reaches the romantic, colorful lushness hinted at by the cover. As is par for the course for this project, there’s a fair amount of musical diversity present in this album, in between the proggy opener “All Is Lost” and the pristine post-rock of the closer “All Is Found” is a rising and falling tide of various forms of metal, shoegaze, and ambient. Much of the record takes the form of soothingly twinkly passages, but metallic riffs are never far behind. Instrumental passages take precedence over vocals, but vocal sections are a mix of blackened shrieks and shoegaze-style clean vox. No review would be complete without throwing a mention to midpoint song “Funeral Pyre”, definitely the album's peak in this reviewer’s book, and a reminder of the sonic wonderment which can result when black metal, shoegaze, and post-rock are melded effectively.

I feel confident in saying that Beautiful Ghosts won’t be Unreqvited’s answer to Sunbather , or Ecailles De Lune , or .neon , that is, an album which proves transcendent enough to be recognized as a genre-defining work. To achieve that tall order, the album would need a bit more coherence as a whole than it reaches. Nonetheless, this is a great record which sees Unreqvited trend upwards, and is well worth a listen for anyone with a taste for blackgaze or any associated musical variants. I’ve long held that Unreqvited is perhaps the most tantalizing artist within the blackgaze scene, oozing with the potential to one day put it all together and release a distinctive masterpiece. This isn’t quite it, but also gives me no reason to give up hope.



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user ratings (55)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
August 17th 2021


2937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A blackgaze album which doesn't reinvent the wheel but will probably strike a lot of listeners' fancy

TheSpirit
August 17th 2021


28534 Comments


whoa hard props, wasn't expecting to see this reviewed here, let alone so quickly after its release

Digging: Gonemage - Sudden Deluge

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
August 17th 2021


2937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers @TheSpirit, I've always liked this project and figured I'd give it some attention!

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
August 17th 2021


3457 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice rev as always!! i've checked one of their albums before and quite enjoyed it, will make sure to jam

Digging: Slow Crush - Hush

AaroN911
August 17th 2021


3257 Comments


ooh this sounds good, nice review as well

Digging: Lil Ugly Mane - VOLCANIC BIRD ENEMY AND THE VOICED CONCERN

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
August 17th 2021


2937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That you both!



@Jesper, seems likely that you'll enjoy this.

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
August 17th 2021


3457 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah this was nice! lil bit too maximalist for my blackgaze tastes but v enjoyable nonetheless

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
August 17th 2021


15242 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Beautiful Ghosts? More like Beautiful Review. Am I right? : )

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
August 17th 2021


2937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

LOL, thanks Chef Gnocchi!

MyColdShoulder
August 17th 2021


89 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sick review my friend. Absolutely love this artist

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2021


26038 Comments


Nice write up as always Sunny (damn you're prolific!). His last album was alright for me, nothing crazy, it was good but I doubt I'll have time for this one.

Digging: Blackwater Holylight - Silence/Motion

Slex
August 18th 2021


12290 Comments


Love this band, bout to finish my first listen

Digging: Circa Survive - A Dream About Love

Sowing
Moderator
August 18th 2021


39343 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is stunning

Digging: Circa Survive - A Dream About Love

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2021


2937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers fellas!



@Sowing, I was considering shoutboxing you to check this, seems like right up your (metal) alley.

Sowing
Moderator
August 18th 2021


39343 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I love metal that leans into the lusher and creative side of things, which this does without sacrificing anything.

zaruyache
August 18th 2021


24593 Comments


dang the new ghost bath sounds pretty good



Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2021


15242 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like that Sowing is getting into these niches more and more. I'm all for an inclusive Sput.

Sowing
Moderator
August 18th 2021


39343 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yup, this is joining Dvne and Esoctrilihum in some elite 2021 metal company. I haven't listened to every metal album to drop this year, but the genre has been good to me when I have.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2021


15242 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Keep your eyes on the staff column later, metal's not done yet.

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2021


2937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Sowing, you'd probably enjoy Unreqvited's back catalog as well, honestly all of the other albums (except maybe the debut) are in your wheelhouse.



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