It’s a period in which I often find myself reviewing various bands from Greece, and I have to say that it doesn’t sound bad at all. Of course, as usual, the music I deal with has to do with doom, and the chances that this is to my liking increase exponentially, but it is not so obvious to give birth to works so effective and inspired, as if the vicissitudes that have recently afflicted what, perhaps, is the people closest to us in culture and mentality, have brought out the best in terms of compositional vis. I didn’t know Universe 217 and I have to make amends, since they are already at their fourth full length and that one in question, the recent Change, is a true exhibition of evocative and powerful music. The decisive element is an exceptional vocalist (to emphasize it I would almost write it with two zeros…) as Tanya Leontiou: this girl makes of her voice a real instrument, and made the due proportions, it turns out to be worthy fellow countrywoman (of origin) of Diamanda Galas, although compared to the “snake” is much more subservient to the work of the band that supports it rather than hopelessly kidnapped by experimental drives. And then the doom… It would be reductive to confine the music of Universe 217 in a narrow channel: here doom is the mood that is the foundation to build sounds ranging from hard rock to blues, on which Tanya towers with a voice now powerful, now persuasive and sometimes aggressive, always a step ahead from the communicative point of view compared to those who make sterile exhibition of pure vocal technique. The wonderful Undone, which opens the album, is an episode of enormous evocative power, more consistent with the music of destiny (like the darker Rest Here) than other tracks on the disc, but with surprising moments, like the final that evokes the majesty of Zeppelin’s Kashmir; Counting Hours shows more alternative moods while Here Comes is an irresistible emotional crescendo. If Burn amply justifies the adjective experimental associated with the music of the Athenian quartet, in the next Call are exhibited all the vocal ranges that Tanya has, pouring them on the dramatic sound carpet impeccably created by his excellent companions, while the long title track, finally, closes in an equally eclectic and surprising (blues, doom, post-metal and a splash of trip-hop) a work that contains a kaleidoscope of emotions rarely found. Change amazes for a songwriting that penetrates the soul of the listener without remission, although it presents more than one difficulty to assimilate the beauty in an immediate way, given its versatile and articulated pace. Universe 217: as my specific case teaches, it’s never too late to discover them and enrich yourself with their musical art.
2016 – Ván Records