Released: 2013, CTS Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
There are some albums you listen too where within the first few seconds of the opening track the impact hits you, makes you stop what you are doing and soak up every ounce of its sheer magnificence. Such is the case with Greek Doom Metallers Universe 217 and their latest output Never. Combining the best elements of Cathedral and Saint Vitus this is an essential purchase for any Doom Metal fan out there looking for something that is both dark and vibrant.
Going back to the opening of the record itself, what makes it an instant favourite for the albums I’ve reviewed this year, is Tanya’s cathartic and shuddering vocal abilities. Right from the outset of ‘Mouth’ you are thrown into a style of music and singing that instantly compliment each other in a way that doesn’t seem possible and yet it most definitely is. The soaring vocals and downbeat tempo of the guitars and weighty drums collide at full force with each other to create a colossal sounding powerhouse of an opener.
Next up, ‘Enter’ keeps the momentum going with bleak sounding guitar work and sludge driven drums. Vocally, everything remains on top form as they weave in gradually showcasing the band’s ability to heighten tension and deliver a sense of anticipation. The opening verse comes in with a raw sounding kick that cutting through the instrumentation with a piercing clarity. The guitar distortion used here, also flexes some impressive skills from the guitarist.
‘Stay’ ups the ante with an opaque imagery and raw sounding lung bellowing vocals that so powerful you wonder if things could get any more intense than this. The drums speed up carrying pace forward as the riffs remain as angst ridden as ever.
Meanwhile, the dense sounding bass lines of ‘Harm’ fortify the mournful soundscapes that the band carve with an ever impressive vocal range that scaling and plunging the track into a wayward descent. Personal highlight, ‘She’ remains the longest in duration but also the most captivating track that the record has to offer. The vocals sound softer in tone with a sense of fragility from the lyrics themselves. As the drums wade in everything is cranked up with the vocals sounding bolder than ever, amidst the gritty riffs and consistent drumming. However, it is the final few minutes that will leave its mark upon your ears and get you hitting the replay button.
Closing off with, ‘Never’ the monstrous sounding guitar led intro comes swinging down at high velocity before the vocals and tribal sounding drums to build up to an all sounding crescendo that keeps you hooked though out.
Overall, this was astounding piece of music, intelligently crafted and vast in scope it is nothing short of overwhelming and climactic in the standard that it sets. The production was well refined and certainly complimented this talented quartet of musicians in their song writing abilities. There really wasn’t anything to criticise whilst engaging with this record, so be prepared to put this forward as a serious contender for one of the best albums of 2013, I for one certainly have.
Review by Ben Spencer