Fallen In Disbelief, the debut of the Unmercenaries, turns out to be in extremis the best release of the year in the Russian doom scene, a scene, this one, that had accustomed us very well in past years but that, in 2014, has not offered strangely above average works, at least in its most extreme sides such as funeral and death doom. Unmercenaries are certainly not unknown, in fact this is a project wanted by Gungrind, guitarist of Who Dies In Siberian Slush, which, of course, could not help but use the voice of Evander Sinque, frontman of that excellent band as well as the soul of MFL Records, the Moscow label (MFL stands for Moscow Funeral League, for the sake of accuracy) that publishes the work; together with the two russian musicians we find on drums Jürgen Fröhling of My Shameful, while the keyboards are played as guest by the well known I. Stellarghost of Abstract Spirit. Inevitably, especially in the first two songs, common traits with Who Dies In Siberian Slush emerge and, frankly, it would have been strange the contrary, but if this happens is only for a natural stylistic contiguity and not because of a songwriting asphyxiated: in fact, if Among The Stars, opening track, retains those characteristics typical of the Moscow doom before opening in its central part to poignant melodies outlined by the talented keyboardist, the next A Portal, after a short and cacophonous instrumental outburst that we find in the closing, stands out in all its sorrowful solemnity, going to constitute a monolith of pain in which the guitar of Gungrind recites its magnificent litany in support of the well-known growl of Evander; this song is by far one of the best listened in the genre this year, proving to be a hypothetical summa between the parameters of the ex-Soviet school and the noble influence of Skepticism. Circles Of Disbelief keeps the pathos of the work very high and is extremely interesting for the presence of Daniel Neagoe on clean vocals, who returns the favor to Evander, who sang a short part in Dear Insanity by Eye Of Solitude; as sometimes happens (and in my opinion this is not a bad thing) the presence of the guest somehow directs the sound towards the band to which it belongs: it is undeniable, in fact, that the track possesses the melancholic and dramatic traits at the same time that marked the previous masterpiece of Eye Of Solitude, Canto III. Considering also that Evander is one of the few in possession of a growl able to stand comparison with that of Daniel, it is clear that here we have all the ingredients for the success of another magnificent song, to which the keyboards of I.Stellarghost really give a particular emphasis. A Beggar’s Lesson winds mostly on a melodic line that recalls the austere and fascinating atmospheres of the far east Europe, and its considerable length is diluted by a very evocative ending that seals in an ideal way a wonderful album. Without forgetting the precious contribution of the German drummer Jürgen Fröhling and of Gungrind himself as far as the rhythmic part is concerned, the only regret is that this work has been published after the compilation of the inevitable year-end charts; I don’t think the fact of being among the first places in my personal ranking would have changed the life of the excellent Unmercenaries, but there is no doubt that a little place among the best five doom albums of the year would have easily found it. Not bad, for them, and very good, instead, for us fans, who find as a Christmas gift (the album was released on December 25) a new great band capable of proposing at the highest levels our favorite genre.
2014 – MFL Records