As one of the most expansive and densely populated sections of black metal in our modern digital age, it can often feel intimidating to dive into the deeply layered world that is atmospheric black metal. But, like all styles, there are plenty of bands that manage to stick out from the competition for one reason or another to really act as guiding lights where otherwise there might be blissful confusion or a chaotic loss of direction. It’s with Unreqvited, though, that we have undoubtedly got a shining beacon of all that the style can deliver in all of its glory. The band has never once denied us greatness across any of its releases no matter what style it may fall into, but it should undoubtedly be with this brand new work that we should consider this a true masterpiece of undeniable proportions.
Even if we were to ignore that utterly gorgeous cover art and go off of what Unreqvited has given to us before with it’s various full-lengths, splits, and EPs, I’d be floored to come across any fan of atmospheric black metal that wasn’t the least bit phased by what this band has been able to create. For a scant five years, this band has made achieved cult status through constant production and unyielding self-innovation via personal challenges of creativity that keep their music fresh, engaging, powerful, and intoxicating for years. It’s with their brand new record of “Beautiful Ghosts” that we not only get a continuation of that, but it’s all done so in such overwhelming faction that it’s a true task not to throw around the phrase “magnum opus” in every sentence when talking about this utterly stunning work. While not only being a surprising yet somewhat expected evolution of all that Unreqvited is in the public consciousness, “Beautiful Ghosts” manages to be one of the most hopeful, positive, and colorful works of black metal as a whole that I’ve ever had the immense honor of immersing myself in as it goes against what’s largely considered the typical trajectory of what the vast majority of other black metal acts go for with this effort in particular really showing us that reversing such a core ideal of the style can absolutely be done not only successfully but to tremendous effect! From the vocals really folding into the background to let the gripping instrumentation really play the main character of the record, the staggering talent oozing out of every possible moment of these seven tracks, the near kaleidoscope-esque level of colors that are undeniably hypnotic to peer into, and the damn near trascendent level black metal that’s on full display without any shame or blemish to be had for all that is presented to us in this constant onslaught of the work, it would be truly foolish to let “Beautiful Ghosts” become lost in the deluge of other albums and bands that populate this massive scene. We can rest easy, though, for Unreqvited absolutely has a reputation that proceeds them with it being nothing but enhanced exponentially with the release of this true magnum opus.
It is certainly every year that the style is given a real feast for the ears from any number of bands that do nothing but justice and glory for all that the style can be with tons of excellence to be found within, but it’s only on a rare occasion that we get even half of what we have got here from Unreqvited whose mastery is just as expected at this point as it is unendingly enthralling. Just a passing listen to “Beautiful Ghosts” isn’t nearly enough to truly experience all that is to be found within this masterpiece, and I am beyond ecstatic knowing that this will be hailed as an undeniably massive diamond in the treasure trove that is this band’s discography for years to come.
LISTEN to “Beautiful Ghosts” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Unreqvited on Facebook here.