Review: “Colour the Soul” by Unbowed

Treading the boards since 2011, Canadian Extreme Metal quintet Unbowed celebrate a decade of destruction with their third album “Colour the Soul” and return to illustrator Marta Sokołowska who created the artwork for 2014’s “Collapse the World” for the artwork for this one 7 years on. Written and recorded by Unbowed at Nomadic Arts Studios and mixed and mastered in house by guitarist Alex Snape the album features a trio of mouth watering guest appearances with Joel Violette (Thrawsunblat, Woods of Ypres), Mathias “Vreth” Lillmåns (Finntroll, And Oceans, Dispyt) and Frederik Jensen (Mother Of All, Plained) all adding their own unique twists…

…Genre tags tend to cover a multitude of sins in the modern age of Metal and while Unbowed self describe as an Extreme Metal act, that is far too simpler an explanation of their sound. In truth “Colour the Soul” is a diverse affair that sees the band draw upon wide ranging influences to create something with fiery intensity and textured contrast that has an abundance of energy, an evolution from Melodic Death Metal roots that is intriguing. Following in the footsteps of bands like Amorphis, the record has the theatrical feel of a concept piece that courses through its veins with a weight of emotion and sentiment in the lyrical narrative expressing fear, exhilaration and passion. Opening cut “Hero Lux” begins the story with melancholic undertones as a small fire becomes a raging inferno. The vocals are impressive with Ioan Tetlow sounding like the combination of Atreyu pairing Brandon Saller and Alex Varkatzas are contained within him as he swings like a pendulum back and forth between clean and unclean parts. Later on he spills his guts on “Home” and “The Athem of I” that both offer introspection and and arena anthem sing-a-long parts while maintaining a grit and integrity as well as their fair share of heavier moments. The rhythm section of drummer Cory Hofing and bassist Aiden Watkinson makes for a powerhouse pairing, they’re absolutely vital in the way this has been crafted with Black Metal blast and Death Metal fills helping to create turbulent storms of atmosphere on cuts like the majestic “Eigi Einhamr” and “Fire of Wode“. The later of that pairing also embraces Symphonics and buried orchestration that gives it a powerful cinematic feel. Fredrik Jensen brings a majestic face melting solo as “The Holy Momentum” balances on the knife edge between abrasive aggression and harmonious melody before the Cathedral organ like keyboards of instrumental “As I Step Mountains Sway” make for a moment of epic grandeur, cleansing the mind of what came before hand in captivating fashion. The vision of Unbowed to create something with as much intense contrast as “Colour the Soul” has and then to follow that vision through with meticulous levels of detail is just astounding [8.5/10]

Track listing

1. Hero Lux
2. Eigi Einhamr
3. Fire of Wode
4. Stream of Life Flow of Death
5. The Holy Momentum (Ft. Frederik Jensen of Mother Of All, Plained)
6. As I Step Mountains Sway (Joel Violette of Thrawsunblat, Woods of Ypres)
7. Home
8. The Athem of I
9. Umbra Cruciata (Ft. Mathias “Vreth” Lillmåns of Finntroll, And Oceans, Dispyt)
10. The Mourning Shade

Colour the Soul” by Unbowed is out 20th May 2022

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