Written by: PP on 28/12/2010 15:46:37

German black metallers Unlight have always struck a chord with me in the midst of a sea of generic black metal bands. Their approach to black metal has been to add plenty of melody and influences from outside the metaphorical genre-defined box, resulting in a varied and interesting effort that isn't just a blast beat-laden tremolo hell as many releases by their colleagues tend to be, especially in their home country. "Sulphurblooded" is their fourth full length in just seven years, and it's yet another improvement in their sound, that's not necessarily original as such, but an impressive one nonetheless within the genre.

Lets take the album opener "Sulphurblooded" as a good example of the versatility that exists within this album. The atmosphere oozes of pure evil and satanic vibes, what with a strong tremolo riff running on the background, but straight from the start you have a guitar riff that you'll normally meet in technical melodic death metal rather than black metal. Then it's time for some uber tight thrash metal riffs, before the black metal wave hits back with more tremolo and scathing shrieks delivered by a very competent vocalist for the genre. Already here you'll draw a conclusion that Unlight are capable of some extremely rich and varied black metal, even though the brutality is largely preserved on this track given the thick blast-beat support from behind the drum kit.

On the other extreme the band writes songs like "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi", which features enough melody to conveniently place Unlight into the melodic corner of the black metal spectrum. The soloing in this song is jaw-droppingly good, again drawing from melodeath to distinguish the track from just another generic black metal track. It's as if the band take their cues from Dissection, but make it a whole lot more melodic just because they recognize black metal's largest pitfall making it only a niche genre even within metal: almost complete lack of melody in the midst of brutality.

"Invictus" follows suit later with a solo that, according to my notes taken while listening to the record, is "sick", underlining just how technical Unlight can be, and how strong their melodic base is at times. Don't get me wrong though, "Sulhpurblooded" is still very much a black metal album at its core. It just dares to push the envelope and make it sound interesting and different, instead of the same monotonous, evil atmosphere brooding from start to finish. Highly recommended if you're new to black metal.

Download: Sic Transit Gloria Mundi, Sulphurblooded, Sound Forth The Trumpets
For the fans of: Dissection in a melodic black metal version
Listen: Myspace

Release date 24.09.2010
Massacre Records

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