Release date: October 12, 2010
Amidst the icons of European goth/symphonic metal; Nightwish, Epica, Within Temptation and Lacuna Coil, a new band has fans of the genre with ears attuned in anticipation. Polish metallers, UnSun are set to return with their sophomore offering, Clinic For Dolls. The band’s 2008 debut, The End Of Life showed serious promise from the quartet. Clinic For Dolls makes significant strides towards staking their claim in a genre too often filled with musical ability but lacking in identity and songwriting chops.
UnSun features former Vader guitarist Maurycy “Mauser” Stefanowicz, vocalist Annelyse “Aya” Stefanowicz, bassist Heinrich (Decapitated, Rootwater, Masachist, Vesania) and drummer Vaaver (Induki). UnSun is the brainchild of Mauser and Aya. The two knew from their first songwriting collaboration that they had something to say, and quickly set about bringing together their vision of darkness and light.
Clinic For Dolls offers up ten heavy and emotive aural gems for fans of the goth-metal sound. Mauser’s songwriting and guitar work shines throughout.
Aya’s powerful and intoxicating voice takes up residence in the listener’s cerebral cortex, calling like a siren. Her voice has comparable textures with In This Moment’s Maria Brink, solid, yet distinctly feminine. She also reminds me of Within Temptation’s Sharon den Adel on some tracks.
The album kicks off with the ringing of a school bell, and ephemeral lulling of piano, before the guitars kick into overdrive, and Aya leads us on a search for answers along “The Lost Way.”
The album’s title track strikes hard and heavy with a bit of an industrial feel, while “Time” and “Mockers” are moody and thought provoking. Aya writes of finding the light casting the shadows, and the voracious appetite of lies and vile judgement.
One of the album’s high points is the ballad, “The Last Tear,” where Aya sings in celestial tones of embracing your fears to overcome them.
“Home” provides the album’s first single, and Aya reels you in with her unique vocal nuances layered amidst galloping guitars and crashing drums. This track leads nicely into the similarly evocative “I Ceased,” which features intense drum work by Vaaver.
The album’s ninth track, “A Single Touch” is perhaps the most generic generic of the 10 we are given, but is still a worthwhile listen.
To bring Clinic For Dolls to a close, the band saved the gem, “Why” which blends a moody aural tapestry with crunchy guitars, rapid fire drum work. This could easily be one of several singles from the record along with the “Lost Way” and “The Last Tear.”
In all, UnSun‘s sophomore effort takes a sweeping step forward in the band’s growth process while leaving the door open for greater growth down the line. This album, while strong in it’s own right may be a mere stepping stone to what is surely to come for these talented Poles.