Review: “Holes” by Unleash the Pain

Hailing from Tel Aviv, Israel are a quintet going by the name Unleash the Pain with a reputation for a modern Metalcore sound and a crushing rhythm section to rival the best in the business. Having taken a three year break, the band returned in 2015 with a standalone cover of “Don’t Let Me Down” by The Chainsmokers. Following the bands 2012 debut EP “Isolated”, new release “Holes” is actually the bands debut full length release.

“Holes” starts off with a 65 second spoken word introduction called “Prologue”. Starting with a cold industrial sound before becoming  underpinned by haunting piece of synth work very much like that Mushroomhead the track builds into a guitar part that ploughs into opening song proper “The Runaway”. Showcasing an excellent vocal range with soaring “End of Heartache” Killswitch Engage esq Howard Jones era vocals from frontman Israel Papa during the melodic parts and some punchy breakdown, it’s a class cut. The vicious uncleans that close the track in style are tasteful and biting as well as being well placed to flow into the cutting introduction to “Before The Edge”. The third tune on the album showcases even greater versitility within the musicanship as the band build from dark synths which become buried into some brutal drive riffage. It’s at this point that the band have a bit of the Ice Nine Kills to them. Not in the theatrics but in the horror soundtrack leaning and storytelling side that INK are well known for. The flow of the song is glorious as it moves in waves between the melodic parts and the heavier tones with ease. Again, the vocal range is phenomenal and the ability to switch between sing and scream in an almost schizophrenic way is a joy. “We’re Not Gonna Make It” continues that flow while introducing gang chants and mid 2000’s era Metalcore lead guitar flourishes from Ron Shehebar and Ohad Stavi. The cry of “we’re not going to make it out alive” with accompanying choke sound works really well with the Nu-Metalcore tinged lyrics.

“Spread The Red” brings the groove to town with vocals not kicking in until 68 seconds into the 153 second tune. The huge drum sound that Gal Yafe delivers is much more apparent on this cut which serves as a something of a punch in the face by the sharp close. It’s one which could have been lengthened out but the decision to cut it seemingly short is one that works well. The story telling resurfaces in “Chronicles Of A Running Man” which builds melodically with huge clean vocals until midway when the guitars pick up and snippets of uncleans vocals appear. It’s a saddened dark tale that brings a bigger atmospheric dimension to the bands sound that had previously been heard and is done incredibally well. There are even hints at progressive tech metal as the song closes.
“The Lure” continues the haunting vibe that appears on a number of songs with the use of synths. The dark and bludgeoning unclean vocal chorus build is a nice touch before it builds into the cleans and the lead flourishes are stepped up, again a nice touch, especially when combined with the almost Tech-Metal breakdowns.

“Awakened” returns to the Metalcore sound of the earlier tracks while also including the reference to the album title within its lyrics. There is even a surprise “Blegh!” in the mix! Building layer upon layer of punchy breakdown before bringing back the melody in the mid section before closing out with some more haunting piano work lifts the whole thing to its close. “Resolution” turns back to a more progressive Tech-Metal sound perhaps akin to something Periphery would produce. It’s soaring cleans and bouncy guitars make way for a joyous and unexpected solo while later on the brutal uncleans add weight and gravitas to the mix. “Indigo” continues the Periphery esq lyrical content and those soaring clean vocals that are perhaps better because they seem more confidently delivered in the later half of the album. The production quality shines through on this cut in particular with everything having its correct place in the mix and each instrument given its chance to shine. Small plays on silence within each track where only one instrument is heard amplifies the whole thing. “Bow” gets back to the heavier material with its brutal introduction and Tech-Metal riffage. It’s off kilter riffage gives the sense of a ship caught in the swell of a storm at sea. The haunting piano work cuts the riffage and builds the epic by playing off the silence gaps against the musicianship in style. “Circled Steps” has a choral esq sound beneath the mix in places that lifts it into that same epic territory as the quality of the material gets better and better as the album progresses. At points you may find yourself thinking thinking that the band are due a dud and that simply doesn’t materialize. The songs at the start of the album may not have the epic nature of some of its later material, but they have other qualities that offer different things. The material is well crafted and executed with an obvious great care taken to ensure the album as a whole flows together and makes for a great listen. Closer “It’s Not A Fairytale” is the longest tune on the album at 6 minutes 22 seconds and is one that flows between Metalcore and Tech-Metal with a seemeless groove and headbanging wonder. It’s verse and chorus movements sit beautifully in the mix and by the end you’ll either be wondering how you haven’t heard about this mastery earlier or simply pushing play for another round. “Holes” is an album that deserves a lot of attention. For Unleash the Pain, this is just the start of what should be on this evidence a phenomenal career! [9/10]

Track listing

  1. “Prologue”
  2. “The Runaway”
  3. “Before The Edge”
  4. “We’re Not Gonna Make It”
  5. “Spread The Red”
  6. “Chronicles Of A Running Man”
  7. “The Lure”
  8. “Awakaned”
  9. “Resolution”
  10. “Indigo”
  11. “Bow”
  12. “Circled Steps”
  13. “It’s Not A Fairytale”

“Holes” by Unleash The Pain will appear on 23rd November!

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