In the late summer of 2021 British alternative/groove/heavy metal band from Hampshire Unrise has independently released their debut album Code Blue. Actually, this is not their first release; they have already given birth to one full-length album in 2016 under the moniker Fall from Perfection. It’s not that they also changed their musical style, but still, if we believe the band itself, the change of name was a gradual evolutionary step. The name Fall from Perfection sounds so metalcorishly familiar, but then again, short and straightforward Unrise is much easier to remember. And by the way, the names aren’t so important; we’re much more interested in musical content and their natural development.
Unrise is a band that wants to equally conquer alternative rock and metal realm with an audible accent towards melodic side. Sometimes alternative side has a slight commercial touch, but not enough to put them into pop alt. rock domain; in order to be a part of this glossy pop rock culture (don’t even think about the comparison with mainstreamers like Evanescence or Avril Lavigne), you need to think simpler. Not that their arrangements are complicated and multi-layered, but still, their music is out of ordinary and mainstream rules. And the same is with heavier side, when alt. metal transforms into something deathmetallic. But mostly Code Blue is a solid groove metal album with steady rhythm and primitive but catchy guitar riffs.
Basically, these simple and tasty guitar riffs are the basis of the songs, the rhythm section is ok, the solos sometimes are zigzagging through technical labyrinths, but these are only adornments, because every composition is holding at steady guitar chords. Of course, there is also a singing matter; the voice of Mary Day is a perfect fit for metalcore – medium low, with some raucousness in it and a sturdy emotional maturity. And beyond all these stylistic excesses lays the nonchalant melodic veil, carrying away extra heaviness or flirtations with the mainstream.
Code Blue is very even and plain record; almost all the songs are performed in a common mood and pace, rarely giving us a chance to hook on something original or at least slightly atypical. Maybe that’s the point; it’s like one solid mood board connected through only one topic, never straying away from the chosen path. Short acoustic passages bring some seriousness (“Memento”) or romantic aura (outro “Memories of Stormy Seas”), while thrash/punk elements (“Call to Life” or “Lost Friends”) add some playfulness and recklessness. Meanwhile everything is soaked in minimalistic temper, giving the groove foundation a possibility to really shoot sharply and with an immense confidence. Surely on this monotonous foundation it’s much easier to emphasize something. Strangely enough, how much Unrise sounds like American band, the English groove/hardcore/metal scene usually isn’t too overwhelmed in southern atmosphere. Here this southern (almost country style) influence is susceptible enough to raise one eyebrow while checking once again their country of origin (especially it is sharply noticeable on tracks “True Deceit” or “Call to Life”).
Six years have passed after their first record, giving them time to reconsider their musical virtues and future goals. A little bit of science-fiction and extraterrestrial influence, strong heavy metal influence, catchy and mundane hardcore principles and a lot of melodic background, this is all about Code Blue. Simple but hard, monotonous but emotional, and low key but catchy.
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