Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Unit Wail


From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Unit Wail Retort album cover
3.94 | 26 ratings | 3 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Kakodeamon (3:40)
2. Peregrinatio (4:11)
3. Tertium Comparationis (3:33)
4. Concupiscentia Effrenata (3:28)
5. Pumapunku (5:35)
6. Numinosity (4:03)
7. Agathodeamon (4:07)
8. Coincidentia Oppositorum (3:47)
9. Fixatio (4:20)
10. Aqua Permanens (6:46)

Total Time 43:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Franck W Fromy / guitars
- Philippe Haxaire / drums
- Adrian Luna / bass
- Emmanuel Pothier / synths
- Vincent Sicot Vantalon / keyboards

Releases information

CD - Soleil Mutant (2013) - Soleil Mutant 42

Thanks to Aussie-Byrd-Brother for the addition
and to mellotron storm for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy UNIT WAIL Retort Music

UNIT WAIL Retort ratings distribution

(26 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(58%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

UNIT WAIL Retort reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars While we're right in the middle of the Christmas season, what could be better at this most holy of times than soundtracking it with the most unholy and wicked instrumental album of 2013?! Unit Wail's debut album, `Pangaea Proxima', was a strong punchy little Zeuhl influenced start, but their follow up `Retort' is simply one of the most feral, unhinged and ferocious albums this year. It shows the band stepping up in a big way and delivering even more on the potential and promise that their first album offered a glimpse of.

`Retort' is filled with a terrifying dark intensity, the band kicking up an almighty racket that is constantly aggressive and attacking. There's not much room for improvisation, instead the band favour concise and tightly composed instrumental rock/Zeuhl pieces that also incorporate industrial, gothic, jazz, electronic experimentation and a subtle RIO tone. Most of the Zeuhl flavour comes from Adrian Luna's fluid bass that is mixed so thick and upfront. and his performance dominates the entire disc, easily some of the best bass playing on any album this year. Drummer Philippe Hazaire plays like a man possessed, whipping up a ferocious dirty fury that tears through the compositions. Keyboard players Emmanuel Pothier and Vincent Sicot Vantalon ply the most haunting and intimidating Mellotron over so much of the album, the instrument never sounding more frightening and intense than it is here. There's no let up, and when the band calms down for even a second, even the few quieter moments are filled with a lurking, eerie tension. This is definitely a modern type of prog, noisy and intense, very likely of interest to fans of heavier music - this is certainly not your Dad's prog band!

Tracks like the thrashing `Kakodeamon' fills you with a clawing dread right from the start, quickly ripped apart with brooding rolling percussion, tip-toeing piano, glistening imperial Mellotron and endless punchy snarling bass. Rippling electronic crackles, malevolent piano and a ghostly Mellotron choir beats the listener into submission on `Peregrinatio', and both `Tertium Comparationis', full of invading alien hostility with loopy swallowing bass and bubbling synth effects, and `Concupiscentia Effrenata's jazzy drumming and dark drama recall the sci-fi Zeuhl of Italy's Universal Totem Orchestra.

`Pumapunku' starts as a doomy Mellotron choir funereal procession, before running through a range of tempos and strident beats back and forth over strangled guitar wailing. `Numinosity' quickly descends into a distorted deranged funkiness, and founding member Frank Fromy's guitars throughout the darkly grooving and scratchy Mellotron fuelled `Agathodeamon' take on a serrated Adrien Belew of King Crimson intensity. The menacing and stalking `Flixatio' is like a race for survival, taking in sections of heavy brooding haunted house atmosphere and frantic chaotic drum storms over harsh guitars. Closer `Aqua Permanens', the most complex, varied and challenging composition on the album, quickly claws under your skin, full of jazzy bass, floating synths, spontaneous piano, grinding buzzsaw guitars and driving drums racing through a varied range of tempos.

The inside of the simple CD booklet offers unsettling and cryptic descriptions of what each track is about, and these vivid words compliment the unease brought on by the music perfectly. At first you'll simply be stunned by Unit Wail's level of power, but repeated plays reveals the subtle complexity to the compositions as well as the variety, skill and talent of the musicians, the whole band playing with so much confidence. `Retort' is easily one of the best Zeuhl albums of 2013 along with Rhun's `Fanfare Du Chaos' and Setna's `Guerison'. Only time will tell if this stunner gets to sit alongside such classic albums of the genre as Dun `Eros' and Serge Bringolf's `Vision'.

Four and a half stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. Franck Fromy and company are back! And I noticed they just released a new album for 2015 which is fantastic news. Fromy was the guitarist and founding member of the legendary band SHUB-NIGGURATH and he continues with that dark and intense style of music with UNIT WAIL. Vincent the keyboardist composed all the music here and we get plenty of sampled mellotron, in fact this recording is swimming in it. Also the bass is very upfront and distorted while Franck adds a delicious variety of guitar sounds. The drumming is inventive and I must say all of these guys are gun slingers when it comes to their instruments. The liner notes though sparse are all in French unfortunately because there is a little blurb for each song.

"Kakodeamon" is dark with intricate sounds to start as the mellotron rolls in. Here we go! Killer bass right here man, and throughout actually. A calm before 3 minutes with plenty of atmosphere as we get random drum patterns to the end. "Peregrinatio" has some incredible drum work early on as the mellotron waves crash the soundscape along with the ever-present bass lines. The tempo continues to shift. This is so good. More mellotron choirs after 2 minutes. It's quite intense a minute later with the guitar and bass killing it then the mellotron is back! "Tertium Comparations" might be my favourite track. Cymbals and some inventive guitar expressions to start as the mellotron arrives. It then turns fuller as the guitar grinds away. When it settles back it sounds amazing, then the guitar returns again grinding away as it builds. Contrasts continue and I have to say Franck is outstanding on this one not so surprisingly.

"Concupiscentia Effrenata" opens with dark piano along with drums and some atmosphere as the guitar joins in. The guitar is quite jazzy sounding surprisingly but not for long as it all turns more powerful. It's dark after 2 minutes. "Pumapunku" opens with what sounds like hurdy-gurdy as the mellotron choirs bring in a haunting element. Scary is the word. It starts to pickup before 2 minutes and some cool guitar sounds follow as the bass digs deep. It's so intense 4 1/2 minutes in then that hurdy-gurdy-like sound returns to end it. "Numinosity" has such an amazing bass/drum intro as the mellotron storms in. The guitar again impresses me so much. What a thumping rhythm on this one.

"Agathodeamon" has a nice drum intro as the bass joins in followed by mellotron choirs. So good! I like he guitar before 1 1/2 minutes and the band is kicking ass before 3 1/2 minutes to the end. "Coincidentia Oppositorum" features some ground shaking bass lines and the drumming is incredible as the mellotron joins the party. "Fixatio" opens with guitar, bass and drums standing out then the mellotron starts to soar before a sudden change as fast paced drums and mellotron lead. It does settle back quickly though and themes are repeated. Some angular guitar 3 1/2 minutes in. "Aqua Permanens" is the longest track at almost 7 minutes. What a composition! Again the mellotron, guitar, bass and drums impress. This song possesses many shades and textures I must say.

Without question this is a top ten release from 2013. There's this dark energy that seems to be associated with Franck Fromy that to be honest scares the hell out of me. Enjoy!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars The sophomore album from these young and ambitious Zeuhl-meisters. The dark CRIMSONian tone is still here, but the band has cleaned up the schizophrenic soundscapes and matured quite a bit in the compositional department, employing more multiple themes per song than before. Though interesting and creative sonic explorations continue for the bass and keyboards players, not so much for Franck's lead guitar. Still attracted to shorter song formats, the band has included their first longer song ever in the finale, "Aqua Permanens."

1. "Kakodeamon" (3:40) great opener! What a pace! Let's me know how these guys have grown: far more cohesive King Crimson-influenced Zeuhl. A top three song. (9/10)

2. "Peregrinatio" (4:11) kind of a continuation and variation on the opener with more synth and lead guitar inputs and more prominent "lead" bass. Mellotron is much more prominent--and ubiquitous--on these songs than on Pangaea Proxima. (8.5/10)

3. "Tertium Comparationis" (3:33) It's like that bass is talking to us! Electronica synth and Fripptonian guitars. After 90 seconds there is an unexpected quieting while TOBY DRIVER-like effected lead guitar plays some notes in the background. Then Mellotrons drench the scape as we return to the opening weave. Interesting. Perhaps this is where Toby got some of his impetus for turning back to 1980s techno-soundscapes. (8.5/10)

4. "Concupiscentia Effrenata" (3:28) sounds like a mix between OZRIC TENTACLES and some of jazz-rock fusion's more adventurous keyboard explorers (Herbie Hancock, Jan Hammer, Chick Corea, Edgar Winter, Moogy Klingman). Very jazzy. A top three song for me. (8.75/10)

5. "PumaPunku" (5:35) very CRIMSON-like. My other top three song. (9/10)

6. "Numinosity" (4:03) surprisingly sedate and straightforward (for a King Crimson-inspired song). (8.25/10)

7. "Agathodeamon" (4:07) love the 1970s-like harpsichord hits! Very cinematic with it's long start-n-stop first half and brief passages into fifth gear--like a car chase scene. (8.5/10)

8. "Coincidentia Oppositorum" (3:47) (8/10)

9. "Fixatio" (4:20) I still get a kick out this band's use of the "harpsichord" sound--especially when the music turns so dark and CRIMSON-like as it does here. Then there's the Jaco Pastorius tribute in the middle. (8.25/10)

10. "Aqua Permanens" (6:46) more harpsichord! More cerebral, methodic and NIL-like in its Zeuhlishness. I like the Jaco display in the middle of this one much more than on the previous song. (13/15)

Total Time 43:07

I don't know why, but bass and drummer Adrain Luna and Philippe Haxaire, respectively, are much more tame in this collection of songs than on the band's debut. As a matter of fact, the entire album's collection of music seems more sedate and controlled (and Mellotron-dominated) than the display of wild on-the-edge reckless abandon that Pangaea Proxima put forth. It's as if the band recorded the songs of Retort after the one night of wild amphetamine abuse explored on Pangaea Proxima.

I really have trouble rating this next to its predecessor as they are two completely different animals, wild and tamed--and yet only one year apart!

B/four stars; another very nice contribution to the 21st Century Zeuhl renaissance and a nice show of growth and maturity from this energetic, creative band. Highly recommended for lovers of Zeuhl and 2nd incarnation King Crimson (1972-5).

Latest members reviews

No review or rating for the moment | Submit a review

Post a review of UNIT WAIL "Retort"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.