The Rickety Old Shack

Unreqvited — Disquiet (2020 Reissue)

album cover

A little less-than 3 and-a-half years after its initial release, Unreqvited's debut full-length album, Disquiet gets the reissue treatment and includes an additional track. Since that time, Unreqvited has released an impressive amount of material, although my fondness for this album maintains its status as my absolute favourite in the discography. I was happy enough to be able to purchase a vinyl copy of Disquiet, the inclusion of a B-side from the album's recording sessions with just a sweetener.

I was tipped off to Disquiet by Ghost Bath, who have the record a strong recommendation via their Facebook page. It was a little odd to find out about a project based out of my own city, Ottawa, Ontario, from a band from North Dakota, but such is the world we live in. The end result was my being introduced to one of the best blackgaze records of that year. Disquiet is a powerful collection of material that channels elements of primal black metal, shoegaze and post-rock's penchant for lengthy cuts that eschew the verse / chorus / verse song structure.

All Unreqvited albums have this aspect to them where each track blends so well into the next that the whole album could easily be a single cut. The album's first 2 tracks establish a mood that builds throughout, peaking at about 4 minutes into the album's title track. After the swelling crescendo of anguished screams, tremolo picking, synths and blastbeats, the album drops back to a melodic posture and begins a new rising action. Disquiet, despite having no actual lyrics, paints a sonic narrative of the cycle of birth, life and death. The bonus track, "Afterlands," tacking on an afterlife component and sounds just as good as the rest of the material — despite the decision to omit it from the record's initial release.

Disquiet remains my favourite Unreqvited album for a number of reasons, not all of which can be articulated. Sometimes you just like a thing, you know... But what I can say is that Disquiet is the most cohesive album in the discography, and I do not mean that as any sort of slight on the albums that followed it. It doesn't take much effort to think of any Unreqvited record as a single track with some arbitary delinations, but Disquiet is littered with callbacks and feels written expressly as this sort of album.

For anyone curious about the blackgaze or DSBM scenes, Disquiet is among a handful of records that are a perfect primer. Sparing use of screams and pained howls for vocals, Unreqvited's sound is a fairly even mix of synths and traditional metal instrumentation. Restrained, tasteful drumming — with fits of violent fury in appropriate places — provides a solid foundation for songs that blend guitar and piano leads very well. Everything has a brooding, morose tinge to it without feeling cartoonishly dour or plodding. Disquiet is a demonstration of excellent tone management in several ways.

Disquiet is one of my all-time favourite albums and I highly encourage everyone to check it out. The post-black genre is rich with talent and Unreqvited issued one of its seminal records.

Summary

A reissue of the DSBM / post-black modern classic Disquiet. Unreqvited has gone on to produce a prolific discography of engaging material but this album remains a masterpiece. A perfect amalgam of melody and the nihilistic gloom of black metal, Disquiet is a tightly integrated collection of tracks that combine into a powerful, emotionally affecting greater whole. One of 2016's best releases, and still a shining example of the depth of talent in the modern black metal sub-genres.

Album Information

Release date:
Record label: Prophecy Productions

Will Vale — everything

Track Listing

  1. Birth
  2. The Autumn Fire
  3. Disquiet
  4. A Tear From The Oak
  5. An Ocean Of Fire
  6. Maydena
  7. Death
  8. Afterlands

Link: unreqvited.bandcamp.com

—by Derek

Published: February 12th, 2020.