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UNIFIED PAST

Progressive Metal • United States


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Unified Past biography
US act UNIFIED PAST was formed back in 1999. The roots of the band go back to the early 80's, when Stephen SPEELMAN and Victor TASSONE started working together in various band projects, and then formed their own in 1990. This band, named Labyrinth, were active throughout the 1990's, and released three full length albums.

By 1999 the band had become a rather different project, lead by Speelman (guitars, drums) with Vinny KRIVACSY (keyboards, vocals), Peter PALMIERI (bass) and Matthew WOOD (drums) making up the rest of the band. They were approached by indie label Atomik Records, who signed the band. The band decided that a new name was in order at this time, and their old moniker LABYRINTH was replaced with UNIFIED PAST at this point. Later the same year their first album under this new name followed in the shape of ''From the Splintered Present Surfaces...The Unified Past'', a collection of re-recorded old material alongside a few new pieces.

The band went into hiatus as recording artists following this production, but in 2009 UNIFIED PAST returned to the scene with the album ''Tense''. This time around sporting two of the members from their LABYRINTH days, Steve CALOVI (vocals) and Victor TASSONE (drums) alongside SPEELMAN, with a guest appearance by keyboardist KRIVACSY. What the future holds in store for this veteran act time will obviously have to tell. Their return to the scene has been met with positive acclaim, which might herald this latest album release as the start of a new lease of life for UNIFIED PAST rather than being an epilogue to a long and eventful history.

Update:
Following the release of ''Tense'', UNIFIED PAST sign with Melodic Revolution Records and release in 2011 the album ''Observations'', continuing as a trio (TASSONE, SPEELMAN, KRIVACSY). In 2013, the second release through the same label follows, entitled ''Spots'', while Dave MICKELSON has picked up the bass duties and KRIVACSY is no longer on board.

Biography update by aapatsos

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SpotsSpots
Original recording
CD Baby 2013
Audio CD$11.98
$10.98 (used)
ObservationsObservations
Original recording
CD Baby 2011
Audio CD$10.29
$21.13 (used)
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UNIFIED PAST discography


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UNIFIED PAST top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
From the Splintered Present Surfaces...The Unified Past
1999
3.05 | 3 ratings
Tense
2009
3.05 | 5 ratings
Observations
2011
3.49 | 3 ratings
Spots
2013

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UNIFIED PAST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Spots by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.49 | 3 ratings

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Spots
Unified Past Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US band UNIFIED PAST, at first known as Labyrinth, has been around in one shape or another for some 20 odd years by now. As Unified Past they made their debut as recording artists in 1999, but then a 10 year long pause followed before they resurfaced with their second production in 2009. The band appears to have entered a two year cycle of releasing albums since then. Following "Observations" from 2011, "Spots" from 2013 is their fourth and most recent studio effort, and was released through the US label Melodic Revolution Records.

The band's fourth studio album "Spots" is a production that should see the band establishing a reach towards a fairly broad sized audience. Their blend of classic hard rock and progressive rock into what I'd describe as a pomp rock sound is often an interesting one, and fairly appealing at that. An album worth investigating by progressive rock fans with a taste for classic hard rock just as much as by those with an affection for classic hard rock who also enjoy occasional forays into progressive rock territories.

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 Spots by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.49 | 3 ratings

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Spots
Unified Past Progressive Metal

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

3 stars Unified Past is an American group that's been recording since early 90's (first as Labyrinth) and Spots (2013) is their 6th studio album. The band is formed by the trio Stephen Speelman (vocals, guitars and keyboards), Victor Fassone (drums and percussion) and Dave Mickelson (bass). On Spots (2013) the band also worked with Karl Matzka playing keyboards on two tracks.

Released by Melodic Revolution Records early this year with a weird artwork by Ed Unitsky. Spots (2013) is focused on heavy themes, mainly because of Stephen's guitars.

First track 'Blank' shows us an interesting mix of Prog Metal with a catchy melody. But I have to admit that Stephen's vocals bothered me a bit. They sound too robotic, with too many effects on them. Second track 'Deep' reminds me of Glam Rock of late 80's and early 90's but with a Prog twist. 'Hot' is a weird instrumental track where you can literally listen ALL kinds of music in one single song. Looks a bit of a show off though.

Unified Past's sound can't be really pointed only as Progressive Metal, however, they have a lot of it in their music. Fourth track 'Seeing' exemplifies that. Plenty of Prog, plenty of Metal and plenty of Glam Hard Rock. The follow up is the second instrumental track on the album, 'Tough'. On this track we have mid-tempo beats and plenty of guitars. At some point it makes you think of Metallica's music (circa Black Album era). And that pretty much sums up many things about Unified Past's sound on Spots (2013) so far: they're trapped somewhere between 1989 and 1991!

The next track 'Age' doesn't change the 'trapped in time' impression, but we have some really nice synths by Karl Matzka here. But by the time of 'Sun' I was a bit tired of the album. I must confess that the sound of Spots (2013) is not my favorite, too much reverb, compression and effects on everything.

The album goes on and we have 'Big'. This track has a nice intro with good ideas and it's a more 'classic Prog' track. Both two following tracks 'Wet' and 'G' have very heavy bass lines and the last song, properly called 'The Final' is their best track on the album. It's more melodic, more Prog and with less effects.

Spots (2013) is a good effort and it has some nice compositions but for me it's an album trapped in time in terms of sound. The production makes every instrument sound dated, as if they were in 1991. Too much reverb, too much compression, too many effects on everything recorded, from vocals to drums. To complete, sometimes the mixing is a bit of a mess too and there are sounds all over the place not in a good way.

If you have never heard about Unified Past and you got Spots (2013) to listen to, you really could think this was an album released in early 90's, not in 2013. So I can say that if this is your favorite period in music, this is your album. But if it's not, it'll be hard to please your ears.

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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 Tense by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.05 | 3 ratings

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Tense
Unified Past Progressive Metal

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars From the States comes this powerful trio, that emerged from the group Labyrinth in late-90's.Labyrinth were active during the 90's and released three albums, but a change of name to Unified Past occured in 1999 with an album following the next year (''From the splintered present surfaces...The Unified Past''), before they were put on ice for years.Original guitarist Stephen Speelman reformed the group in late-00's with Labyrinth's original drummer Victor Tassone and singer Steve Calovi, while Speelman took over also the bass duties.2009 and Unified Past offer independently their second album ''Tense'' (with Greek characters on the front cover).

TILES meet DREAM THEATER/QUEENSRYCHE?This would be a good description for a guitar-driven album, that constantly see the trio changing grooves and tempos throughout, always having a fiery and highly energetic sound.Powerful drums and heavy bass work accompany Speelman's decent effort on lead and rhythm guitars, which eventually offer plenty of hard riffs and sharp solos, while his degree on Classical guitar helps him combine this dynamic approach with smoother parts.ALEX LIFESON and JOHN PETRUCCI seem to be his main influences in a work that moves from furious Heavy Prog to more technical Prog Metal territories.There is a guest keyboardist on the album, participating in a few tracks, but his work is hardly notable.Singer Steve Calovi has a passionate, a bit roaring but also rather raspy voice, that maybe not be everybody's cup of tea, but fits well in this impressive and highly energetic style.I think he sings a little bit out of tune in moments, but the album has few flaws regarding the safe style chosen.As the electric guitar is the main instrument here, all rely on Speelman's talent and his work is pretty great.

This album is rather long, a time length of about 45 minutes would be better for occasional listenings, but nevertheless this is one of the most edgy and angular prog albums around with a nice bunch of good guitar moves and lot of memorable material.Recommended.

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 Observations by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.05 | 5 ratings

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Observations
Unified Past Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars US band UNIFIED PAST has been around in one form or another since the early 1990's. At first known as Labyrinth, but in 1999 they changed to their current moniker. "Observations" is their third full length production using this handle, and their first issued by the US indie label Melodic Revolution Records.

"Observations" comes across as a CD where the old cliche "an album of two halves" is an apt description. If you love melodic rock and accessible progressive rock and don't share this writer's sensitivities concerning vocal performance you should find it to be an enjoyable one, but if you tend to take notice of minor details in the vocals department you'd might want to check out the latter four tracks first to see whether or not they are enticing enough to warrant purchasing this disc.

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 Observations by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.05 | 5 ratings

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Observations
Unified Past Progressive Metal

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Review originally posted at www.prog-sphere.com

This is the last album of this US duo Unified Past, which has been released this year (2011). Here we will find a cool mixture of symphonic prog, heavy prog and even some rock- pop moments distributed in eleven compositions that together make a total time of 62 minutes. This is actually my first experience with this band, so I cannot really give you a background, however, I will surely look to their past and listen to their first footsteps.

It opens with "I'm Not Answering", after an introductory first minute, the vocals appear along with what would be the musical structure. I like the guitar sound here, especially the riff that we can hear just before the fourth minute. The music is a mixture of heavy prog with symphonic elements, excellent for us, the fans of the genre. "Mr. Extravagant" starts with a bombastic keyboard sound which sadly only lasts for a few seconds, it opens the gates to the song's main rhythm which is mid-tempo with a kind of 80s prog feeling. This is not a bad song, but not my favorite at all.

"Insulated" has a constant keyboard background which after some seconds will become addictive. It is complemented by nice bass lines, cool drums, great guitar riffs and average vocals. Here I honestly enjoy more the instrumental passages in which we can truly appreciate their quality as musicians, and their compositional skills. "Crushed" is a softer track, I would say a bit experimental and different from the previous ones. In moments I cannot help but remembering Rush in their 80s phase. This song has also a couple of nice guitar solos.

"Exploratory Observations" starts with percussions and little by little the other elements are joining, first vocals, then keyboards, bass, guitars and drums. It has a catchy sound and we can even listen to some claps here. I would not really call this particular song as a progressive rock one, nonetheless it is worth listening. "Painful Observations" has a nice rhythmical base, I like its start and how it suddenly slows down and acoustic guitar stays. When vocals appear we can once again feel a kind of rock-pop feeling, a catchy tone that one can use to sing. I like the bass a lot, though the song is not their best, in my opinion, actually, this two-observations-song is a weak moment in the album.

"The Move" is a wonderful track, with some birds sound as background while a nice acoustic guitar plays. Later a slide guitar appears and gives a special flavor to the sound. After a minute it stops for a couple of seconds and then becomes more aggressive with heavier guitars and vocals, the feeling is a bit tense and angry. However, later it returns and finishes with the same soft and gently sound as it began.

"Mesmerized" is another interesting track with an excellent structure. I like its beginning, the first moments where an atmospheric sound announces that a change will come, and it comes. Later the music takes a different direction, creating nice textures and colors until it reaches a climax, which is when the guitar solo appears. The last minute sounds more intense. Great!

With "Faithless" we are reaching the final and probably strongest part of the album. This is the longest track, and the first of the last trio. Its sound is softer, with delicate vocals, percussions and calm guitars that together create a tranquilizing moment. What I like here is the intercalation of instrumental moments with the ones with vocals, the band wants to explode both and make the listeners notice their quality, and I do notice it, though I cannot hide my preference for the instrumental ones. There is a part where the guitar solo appears and works together with that exquisite percussion sound. This is one of their finest moments.

"Remember When" is another long song, and it also has a soft sound in the first moments, however it will change after a few seconds when the guitar appears and creates a constant and long solo that works as both, fore and background, it leads and complements the music at the same time, which is great, a difficult work. The song maintains completely instrumental for the first three minutes, then vocals appear with an emotional tone. The music is pretty interesting, I like the keyboards here, and later the awaited guitar solo. Here the music transmits several things, and that is invaluable.

The album closes with "Here They Come", a cool track with a keyboard feast at least for the first minute. Later bass, drums and guitars appear creating an eclectic and challenging sound. This is an instrumental track, and a wonderful choice to finish the album.

So Unified Past new album is a good one, with some highs and lows, but with a nice potential especially in their last three tracks, which were my favorites, besides the opener. However I would honestly omit a couple of songs which did not really let me happy, anyway, I like the album as a whole and it is worth listening.

Enjoy it!

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 Tense by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.05 | 3 ratings

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Tense
Unified Past Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars US band Unified Past has certainly made an album that has it's moments here, and while there's a few elements lacking to create what for me would appear to be a really good album there's certainly a few charming numbers to be found.

Points of reference for this act might be bands such as Rush and King Crimson, lightly spiced with textures from both 80's heavy metal and space rock in the Eloy tradition. One one hand we're served what sounds like Rush spiced with traditional metal, sporting chugging riffs and the occasional space-tinged keyboard textures, on the other we're served lighter and quirkier creations with more of a Crimsonian tinge to them, but maintaining a Rush-like flavour to the overall sound.

Clean and acoustic guitar provides some folk-tinged flavours on occasion as well, which at times gives the album a sort of Zeppelin presence.

While quite a few of these excursions are charming, the lead vocals as well as the mix and production leaves a bit to be desired. Some of the tracks does suffer a bit from a lack of a distinct direction as well. But if the overall blend of styles here sounds interesting, and the vocals aren't too big of an issue with you in general, you might want to check out this band further.

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Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to aapatsos for the last updates

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