Tales for the Unspoken (what a weird name) is a band formed by members of Portuguese speaking countries like Mozambique, Cape Verde, Brazil and Portugal itself, and it’s based in the latter country.
As the press release says they’re influenced by acts like As I lay Dying, At the Gates and so on , denoting that the band is fully inspired by melodic death metal and groove metal. Nothing wrong with those statements if they were delivered in a humble manner, given they are a green band. However, they spoil it all with the line: “...starting a new era in metal”. An ambitious aim, of course, kids!
There you Stand, the opener, shows some interesting riffs. But at the same time delivers a confusing sound hard to distinguish at first listen, as if they are desperately trying to sound technical and progressive at the same time. Possessed, the second song is a good one, I have to admit. Good riffs and it’s where the things seem to settle down for the CD. The next songs have interesting mixes of cultural passages in a Sepultura manner, blended with melodic death riffage and progressive metal along some indigenous vocalizations, another side effect of modern-day internet metal.
That’s when you start to question if this album is something that will endure the test of time.
A song called Makumba (which is a reference to an afro-Brazilian religion very similar to Voodoo) seems a rehashed attempt to explore a third world culture done to death by the Brazilian bands of the middle nineties. The song has its moments, and the skills of the musicians, mainly of the guitarists, start to appear all over the musical frame. But that’s when you start to realize that the real problems are about to begin. As already mentioned they try to blend some progressive and groove parts in an attempt to be “aggressively melodic”, making some passages sound like they are badly sewn together and exhibiting the lack of compositional expertise of the young musicians. Plus the guy who twiddled the knobs opted for a flattened production making the progressive parts sound too fuzzed and the groove parts sound like they’re lacking the due heaviness. All the instruments are clear, all autotuned to perfection. It just does not work!
Now the next songs (and we are still at the middle of the CD): it's when they start going through the motions: forgettable tunes with nothing to show but the excellent guitar riffs, which, of course, are defeated by the jabbering of the vocalist trying to sound mezzo aggressive, mezzo social messiah and mezzo mozzarella. A hint to the band from this humble reviewer: kick that guy off the band and you’ll have something to start over with.
E.G.: in the song Downfall, the unbearable voice and refrain are suddenly replaced by a tasty guitar solo, dropping a dime on the screaming dude.
All in all, Alchemy doesn’t live up to its promise of innovation and metallic revolution. It’s just a bunch of kooky kids (good musicians I repeat) who stuck to the wrong ideas and made their musical prowess turn into an obnoxious progeny of hoity-toity tech-y modern metal. I wouldn’t even recommend it to beginners. What a pity.
Tales for The Unpoken's Alchemy is out now on Casked Music