The Unravelling’s ‘Master Drone’ a Return to Form [Review]

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The Unravelling

The Unravelling’s Steve Moore has been recovering from a major illness ever since the duo exploded onto the industrial and metal scenes in 2010. The band was forced to take a prolonged sabbatical in 2011, but all the while, producer and guitarist Gustavo DeBeauville had been stockpiling material for Moore’s unique voice and lyrical style. Revolt, released in April, was the first single The Unravelling put out since their return. Stylistically, it may have seemed a little different from their previous work, but with their new song, Master Drone, The Unravelling seems to be returning to form with more metal, more heavy lyrics and more of Moore.

2010’s 13 Arcane Hymns was considered a smash hit by metal and industrial aficionados and won The Unravelling a Best Album award at the 2010 Alberta Metal Awards. The band began touring extensively to support the album as it continued to gain steam, topping the CSJW metal charts and earning acclaim from metal authorities like and Metal Insider. The group’s unique mélange of industrial, death and black metal with a hint of grunge on 13 Arcane Hymns, as well as their impeccable production values and Moore’s unconventional vocals, made them popular in a number of genres and sub-genres.

April’s Revolt saw DeBeauville leaning towards a more Dystopian industrial guitar and production style than withThe Unravelling 13 Arcane Hymns, but Moore was right back to the half-angry, half introspective lyrics and vocals that make his contribution to The Unravelling so important. DeBeauville continued to produce other work both personally and commercially, but he always knew that because of Moore’s unique perspective and his vocal and writing styles, Revolt and certain other tracks were made for his partner in The Unravelling.

Master Drone opens with DeBeauville’s characteristic metal guitar style and it is thus heavier than Revolt. He layers the fast guitars with slower goth-style interludes to make room for Moore’s lyrics, which are just as powerful as ever. The relationship between DeBeauville’s production and Moore’s vocals is always of this high caliber and it one of the reasons they have won critical acclaim as well as fan respect.

Master Drone sees Moore’s vocal timbre and style alternating, depending upon the point in the song. His voice is clear and operatic, somewhat like Maynard’s from Tool. He is also able to switch to a more passionate, raspy tone a’la Filter’s Richard Patrick to accentuate a point or connote a feeling. The lyrics describe the Master Drone as a character or type of person who may appear to have everything in order in life, but is only mindlessly existing with no understanding that this life that has been “mastered” is an artificial reality. The illusion of seeing oneself as a master because of money or power is a picture so clearly painted by Moore, both with his piercing lyrics and his impactful and passionate voice.

In 2011, when The Unravelling had to take its unplanned sabbatical so that Moore could focus on his health, both Moore and DeBeauville held out hope for over four years that they would be able to come together again. Now, slowly but surely, those hopes are being realized. With two releases already this year and Master Drone a clear return to form for the duo, it will likely not be long before the hopes of their fans for a new full album will be realized as well.

Review by Layla Klamt

Edited by Jennifer Pfalz

Bandcamp: The Unravelling – Master Drone
Bandcamp: The Unravelling – Revolt

Images courtesy of The Unravelling’s media kit.