Finland’s Unshine serves up a melancholy wintertime offering with “Astrala”, their fourth studio release to date. Tonally complex, “Astrala” deftly navigates between ethereal druidic hymns and fuzzed-out doom metal for a moving experience that evokes comparison to other gothic/doom outfits such as Battlelore and Draconian. Importantly, Unshine brings its own spin to a well-loved sound, incorporating neoclassical and folk elements to achieve a sound that is all its own.
This album stands out from Unshine’s past material, expanding the core of its style, and so is a great jumping on point for fans. Not only is it a step forward in production compared previous releases, these songs break the “gothic doom” mold consistently, even going so far as to include epic upbeat parts. This is a consideration for those who might be searching for a slow, grinding doom record - this isn’t that. If you’re inclined to try something fresh, “Astrala” might be for you.
Susana Vesilahti’s vocals are as lovely as ever, and on “Astrala” they are accompanied by higher quality orchestral arrangements which complement each other very well. Piercing, spectral sounds float above monolithic, chugging riffs which range from more uptempo rhythmic sections to bonecrushing funeral doom drops.
In fact, a multitude of great sounds and instrumentation grace this recording, but there are a fair few interludes and transitions which feel forced, even shoehorned in. After cranking the volume and getting into the groove, it’s not very noticeable and the album has the enjoyable, haunting flow one would expect. The sum total of the craftsmanship here more than makes up for small shortcomings and mark it as an exciting junction in Unshine’s career.
Label: Rockshots Records (2018)
1. Birch of Fornjot (Intro)
2. Kainuun Kuningas
3. Jack's Feast
4. The Masks of Enchantment
5. Pan the One
6. Druids Are A-Coming
7. Slow Moving Creatures
8. Visionary's last breath
9. Suo (Kantaa Ruumiit)
10. The Forest