Five albums in and one still marvels at just how apt a name that the ever-prolific Ryan Lipynsky (THE HOWLING WIND, THRALLDOM) chose for this project. The vocalist/guitarist seems to thrive in a world rife with tremors, dense smog, and aural proclivities that tend not to be soothing to the soul. And yet, once you've fully succumbed to the ritual, the rhythm patterns and sonic swells have a way of canceling your contract with the conscious and letting the cerebral innards guide the journey. Those machinations are deeply imbedded in the workings of "V", the first album I've reviewed since "The Trident". Not sure how I missed "Electrocution", but matters of a more pressing nature are at hand.
At least as far as UNEARTHLY TRANCE is concerned, Lipnysky has a knack for not letting the atmospheric qualities of his releases get too far "out there" (well, on four of the five to my knowledge) and run the risk of listeners' suddenly developing narcolepsy. Even at a somewhat daunting hour's worth of material, "V" remains anchored in big, burly riffs that range from the dissonant (almost painfully so on "Sleep While they Feast") to ones that would have been characteristic of the Lower Paleolithic era had guitars marked the first advancement of the period. "The Horsemen Arrive in the Night" defines the latter, the riffage beastly and ringing; the howls emanating through rotted teeth; and the beat surely kept with knotted clubs. It always comes back to the lead-footed plod and uneasy roll though, pockmarked and pitted in ways that make the ride as bumpy as it is unforgettable. More cases in point are "Solar Eye" and "Submerged Metropolis", both of which also feature soulful soloing that slides on the former (and elsewhere to great effect) and anguishes on the latter.
"V" then is as much about texture, twist, and the tumult as it is doomy atmospherics, even though the latter is still an integral part. In other words, it is still unearthly and trance-like, even tribal at times, as showcased on both "Adversaries Mask 1" and "Adversaries Mask 2". Somehow, someway Lipynsky has tapped into a force that if harnessed by the wrong people could have grave results for civilization as we know it. Fortunately, it remains firmly in his control and until word leaks about covert government operations not coincidentally occurring at precisely the time of Lipnysky's disappearance, you can rest easy…well, sort of easy anyway.