Calgary’s own, The Unravelling, has blessed us with the deepest most meditative album since Pearl Jam’s Ten. 13 Arcane Hymns is thought expanding, mind altering progressive Canadian metal, influenced by Chomsky, Hunter S. Thompson, and Malcolm X. Prepare yourself. The Unravelling will unfold the layers of the mind, getting deep into the psyche; the part we do not explore living in a world where our minds are plugged into a wall (Disconnect-Connect).
It is difficult to lose yourself to the heavy, fast, melodic sound of this album. This is metal with intelligence that requires the listener to wake up and hear the message. The flow will be interrupted with a switch of sound and words, requiring thought and an unsettled feeling.
“Last Rights Protest” plays like Tool in sound and scope, “Breaking through these chains / I’m metal through veins”. The song channels something higher in the listener, “I will move through you if you stand on ground”. The ego is our ultimate weakness, strength lies in the id, “Ego’s drawn him close / now we change the plan”. The repetition of “I’m not dead” gets inside your head, asking for your wakeful state.
Gun shot guitar riffs speak of death on “Revived”, suffocation and bodies buried alive; “a freefall that never ends / when I gasped for air / your hands / your hands covered my mouth”. The silencing of words must not be, even when those words speak what we wish not to hear. “Revived” invites the memory of Anthony Burgess: “Never try to tear the sound from my tongue”.
Transcendental song writing is “Unscripted Disclosure”, “ born with no explanation / reckless abandon moving my tongue / feeling it’s way through my tongue / feeling it’s way through my lungs / unknown voice singing my song”. The chants and screams in the background are “gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh” (29, Burgess, A Clockwork Orange). Through the embrace of darkness we find peace.
“In The Safe House” is familiar of Gord Downie; poetic and Canadian. Our harsh literary landscape is written in song, a metaphor for the call of individual survival: “calloused finger tips gripping / my tongue appealing to the sky / “Fire”…all the hopes, all the fears, all the allusions…the blood, sweat and tears…I will persevere”.
“How long? / How long will we let ourselves be pushed around?” The Unravelling asks this question with “Where Will It End”. The music dares our selves to be shed of skin and facade: “let this be an open vein of blood / smeared all over the face of our illusions”. Our purest of selves will be spread all over our skin, revealing our sickness and complicity in intolerance.
“Arjuna” has a pulsing bass line driving the message and flow. The medium is where it takes you. This song feels very Tool with a sound that unites power within the mind; a rejection of the outer world that enforces dominance over our thoughts: “Rattling the cages / frightening the guards / and they send a message”.
The album jacket contains this message about the first song on the album: “Move Forward Until You Are Dead” is a solemn promise to oneself. It is a personalization of the determined thought form ‘Enough is enough!’ An answer to the question “What should I do?” It is the idea of rejecting the outer realms and embracing the inner. Through this process the inside appears everywhere, and the world is merely oneself. The “dead man”, who feels disconnected from an apathetic world, reclaims his existence and seizes authenticity on his own path. He demands compliance from no one but himself, and in so doing lets go of all worldly attachments. His enemies that once latched on to him now cower in terror. He stands fearlessly in his own power and asks for nothing. He is revived.
13 Arcane Hymns can be downloaded for free off the website. I highly recommend it. Stay posted for an interview I will conduct with singer / song writer Steve Moore of the Unravelling.