SVENGALI Unscathed Album Review Originally Published in Issue 5 Pages 18-19

Dubai’s Svengali have officially released their debut EP, “Unscathed”. A project initiated by Adnan Mryhij and Fadi Al Shami.

SVENGALI UnscathedReview Summary: No hook, no sinker, no line; a surprisingly catchy and delightfully quirky album.

Calling it a masterpiece sets the bar very high, but Svengali has no problem hitting the mark and surpassing it. It’s all about coming from wherever you come from and taking it wherever you want to go. There are many tracks that stand out on this EP, producing a beautiful juxtaposition between the soothing sound and the violent lyrics.

It is not a particularly speedy record, but the songwriting is expertly crafted, allowing the transitions between sections to sound beautifully organic. The guitars, harmonies, uplifting vocals, resplendent keyboards, and thoroughly melodic hooks produce a wonderful effect, and it is safe to say that, most definitely, the expected power of metal is present in full force!

SVENGALI Unscathed – Track reviews:

Track 1 – Ophidia:

This first song is kicked off by booming tom rolls and head-nodding drum fills and a vocal introduction which gracefully provides plenty of dark, futuristic, melodic flavors making for a solidly produced album introduction. The riffs are constantly shifting around from more simplistic, heavy patterns to sweeping melodies that shoot across the fret board, complemented by dynamic vocal arrangements that are in near-perpetual movements.

Track 2 – Sirens:

A consistent amount of subtle yet highly noteworthy variations and beautiful clean vocal bridges flow effortlessly over a track that, apart from the destructive guitar riff, doesn’t require over-the-top variations to keep a listener’s attention. It feels like one is falling from a high place with no expectation of landing.

Track 3 – The End:

This is my favorite track on the EP, as it has the spirit of old school dark music resembling “Paradise Lost”. It is melodically catchy as well as it is a ‘makes you want to cry’ kinda song. All of the included vocals mesh perfectly with the beat of choice. This is an expressively passionate track.

Track 4 – Embrace:

This song comes out swinging with a vengeance, as the tracks repeating sample chops are intelligently put together in a format that provides plenty of variations to keep the listener’s ears fully engaged.

Track 5 – Conquer:

Progressively introduced with raging power chords and harmonizing lyrics on the chorus, it is a real taste of things to come. It is a soulfully pitched up track with the theme of hatred.

Track 6 – Free Fall:

Taking us through a deeply personal journey, this track contains meaningful lyrics, raged drum breaks, and backing chords sections. Melodies throughout the verses quiet down again before transitioning back to the more triumphantly energized and catchy chorus of the track.

Track 7 – The End (Ishtar cover):

This last track on the album leads us to the conclusion and could work well as background music in a movie. It has beautiful vocals and refined piano blends, making for a great conclusion and finale of a breathtaking story throughout the album.

Album summary:

From deep bellows to trailing whispers to distant cleans, the vocal repertoire is by far the most compelling of SVENGALI’s career, helping to accentuate the instrumental transitions.

This is definitely not an album that could be used to introduce non-metal listeners to metal music, as this is a heavy resume of the band’s technical and composing abilities.

Many might have a hard time feeling emotionally connected to the album’s ever-changing moods and multiple atmospheres, but it is supported by a cast of harsh vocals and non-traditional styles.

I know where I’d rank this album on my imaginary metal continuum! It’s a beautiful day!

Originally published in Metal Bell Magazine Issue 5 Pages 18-19

SVENGALI Unscathed

Maurice Semaan

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