Unearthly Trance

V

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With their fifth album, 2010's sparingly named V, Long Island, NY's Unearthly Trance celebrated their tenth anniversary by coming full-circle in their career and revisiting the predominantly slothful tempos of their early years, which had gradually given way to speedier aggression on recent efforts. However, far from succumbing to self-parody or repetition, the trio -- composed of vocalist/guitarist Ryan Lipynsky, bassist Jay Newman, and drummer Darren Verni -- also stopped well short of caking these songs in the corrosive crust and grime that marked those primal productions, choosing instead to meld their brooding suspense with the ever-broadening songwriting arsenal exposed by subsequent offerings. The resulting V is thus, arguably, Unearthly Trance's most balanced effort yet, filled with songs that fairly bristle with unmitigated power wrought from that rare combination of crushing heaviness and cleanly produced sounds. The latter arrives courtesy of versatile producer Sanford Parker (Nachtmystium, Lair of the Minotaur, Pelican, etc.), whose post-metal experience are quite evident in V's deeper sonic textures (notably on "Unveiled," "Adversaries Mask I," and "Into a Chasm"). And for his part, Lipynsky obviously took advantage of the unusually lengthy prep time he was allotted this time around to hone those evil riffs, magnify those dynamic nuances, and match them with suitably evocative lyrics to create a fully integrated long-playing experience from start to finish. It's therefore possible to single out V as a new career best for Unearthly Trance based on its maturity and range, but the group's discography has been so consistently strong throughout the years that different fans will surely beg to differ; in this case, that's a good problem to have.

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