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UNIT WAIL

Zeuhl • France


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Unit Wail biography
Another French Zeuhl star combo UNIT WAIL were founded in late 2009 by Frank FROMY (guitars), who has already improved his musical skill in a couple of projects and got renowned as a founding member of SHUB-NIGGURATH, along with establishing a concept of an album featuring creation by Vincent Sicot VANTALON (keyboards). Frank and Vincent recruited Adrian LUNA (bass), Emmanuel POTHIER (synthesizers), and Sebastian ARCE (drums), for producing their debut work (Philippe HAXAIRE soon replaced Sebastian who left for Chile as a drummer). Their recording for the debut album for two years and a half worked well upon rhythm and harmony both, based upon Vincent's composition. Finally the crystallization of their steady efforts "Pangaea Proxima" has been completed and released in the summer of 2012 via Soleil Zeuhl Records.

Soleil Zeuhl Records announced that UNIT WAIL will appear with other Zeuhl stars - SETNA, SCHERZOO, and NEOM - on stage of Soleil Zeuhl Festival upon September 18, 2013, and it will not be long before their second album is out.

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Pangaea ProximaPangaea Proxima
Import
Imports 2012
Audio CD$27.88
$63.43 (used)
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Import
Imports 2013
Audio CD$43.33

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UNIT WAIL discography


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UNIT WAIL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.69 | 8 ratings
Pangaea Proxima
2012
4.04 | 4 ratings
Retort
2013

UNIT WAIL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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UNIT WAIL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pangaea Proxima by UNIT WAIL album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 8 ratings

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Pangaea Proxima
Unit Wail Zeuhl

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars New Avant Prog band from France, formed in 2009 through a collaboration of guitarist Franck William Fromy, coming from veteran noisy Avant Rockers Shub-Niggurath, and keyboardist Vincent Sicot Vantalon.Despite the presence of Fromy the main composer of music appears to be Vantalon and Unit Wail came to full circle with Emmanuel Pothier on synthesizer, Sebastian Acre on drums and Adrian Luna on bass.However, during the long recording sessions of their debut, Acre left for Chile and he was replaced by Philippe Haxaire.With James Hugget providing bass lines in one track, the first album ''Pangaea proxima'' was eventually released in 2012 on Soleil Zeuhl.

Energetic and twisting, dark Avant Prog is Unit Wail's proposal on this release, fairly complex, extremely adventurous and very intricate stuff all the way.You should ask how such a group with two keyboardists on paper would sound, but the answer is easier than you should expect, as things appear to be pretty balanced in here, no apparent dual keyboard/synth deliveries, Vantalon and Pothier rarely get in each other's way.What's really unique is the constant presence of a Mellotron around, combine this with the haunting and robotic guitar plays of Fromy and you will often think that the ghost of old KING CRIMSON was present at the time of the recordings.Now, the album contains three quarters of an hour music divided in 12 short cuts and the material is trully compressed and dense in ''Pangaea proxima''.Complex rhythmic patterns, switching tempos and schizophenic bass work and drumming meet Vantalon's powerful Mellotron and the synth exercises of Pothier, stuff is usually fast-paced with rich and dynamic executions and a little atmosphere in some of Fromy's background, almost spacey solos.There is a certain French Zeuhl taste in the throbbing grooves, but this is more of an Avant Prog offering, comparable sometimes to YUGEN's most complex ideas.

Cool Heavy/Avant Prog with a certain direction and well-constructed pieces.Non-mystified should stay away, this one should be a great entry for all lovers of frenetic, complicated musical adventurues.Recommended.

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 Pangaea Proxima by UNIT WAIL album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 8 ratings

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Pangaea Proxima
Unit Wail Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars UNIT WAIL is the most recent project of guitarist Franck Fromy who was one of the founding members of the legendary SHUB NIGGURATH. He's borught on board four younger guys who i'm sure have all learned a great deal about music from this master of dark and intense music. This particular project is all instrumental but not too far off the path that SHUB NIGGURATH blazed through hell itself. We get twelve tracks over 45 minutes so it's easy to digest.

Up first is "Mesozoic Cities" where the first sounds we hear are of Franck's distorted guitar crying out as the rest of the band join in but the guitar stands out most. It picks up speed and I must say I like the drumming here as it seems sporadic. Keys replace the guitar before 2 minutes with background synths giving the song a different vibe although it's still dark. The guitar is back to end it. "Ombos" is haunting with some jarring sounds bringing UNIVERS ZERO to mind. The guitar comes in playing angular melodies over top of the darkness. Check out the drumming after 2 minutes after the guitar fades to the background. Sounds like electronics joining in as well.

"Telete" opens with drums and bass before we get some brief mellotron. I like this a lot. The mellotron is back and the bass and drums are so intricate here as the guitar is strummed. "Sargasso Sea" takes us back into the night then suddenly it all speeds up and the distorted guitar plays over top with mellotron waves in tow. great stuff ! It settles back again but the tempo will coninue to shift. Insane guitar late. "Outerspace" blows me away because the synths sound so much like PORCUPINE TREE. Who would have thought ? It opens with electronics and when it kicks in i'm thinking of the psychedelic period of PT. mainly because of the tone of the guitar. Man this is so good ! The drums are aggressive and the bass is digging very deep. My favourite tune right here, very impressive.

"Humanoid Fish From Encelade" is different with a multitude of sounds coming and going. Mellotron comes and goes. "Home Of Nowhere" is the darkest yet as we get this creepy and ominous soundscape then the mellotron joins in just to add to the fear they are creating. "Magnetostriction" is fairly uptempo and fuzzed out. Nice. "Holocene Extinction" opens like we are in a dream then it kicks in before a minute. Contrasts continue. "Shambhala" is the longest track at almost 5 1/2 minutes. Piano, bass, drums, guitar and mellotron before it all picks up. There's so many things I want to focus on here. A very interesting track to say the least. "Three Eyes" opens with ominous guitar sounds then the tempo picks up with some killer playing by all. It settles back as the contrasts continue. "Subdeath" like the previous tune features some dark sounding guitar expressions but with a marching styled beat like we're heading to the grave. Piano joins in as the guitar cries out. The spoken words before 3 minutes sound like the are from Death himself welcoming us to our final abode. It starts to get frantic or is that me. What a way to end the album !

Just a great start for this band and I must say that after hearing the followup "Retort" recently these guys are only getting better.

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 Retort by UNIT WAIL album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 4 ratings

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Retort
Unit Wail Zeuhl

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

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.

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 Pangaea Proxima by UNIT WAIL album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 8 ratings

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Pangaea Proxima
Unit Wail Zeuhl

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars The influence of Shub-Niggurath, coming from one of that band's founders, the guitarist Frank Fromy, makes this debut album very dark. Respect to the last unlistenable effort of Shub-Niggurath (Note: I thought it was the last, but after their 3rd album there's another released in 2009 I wasn't aware of) this album is very well played and arranged, so if you are in the right mood for this kind of sci-fi inspired dark and obsessive music, with jazz and classical elements fused together, this is a very good one.

The music is dissonant but not noisy, and even if dark, not horrorific as Shub-Niggurath were.

The track titles give the impression of a sci-fi concept,but of course, without lyrics this is hard to say.

"Mesozoic Cities" may be referred to the "Old Ones", and one of those cities could be R'Lyeh. The music is able to suggest images of chaos and weirdness, but it doesn't appear to be improvised. Each passage seems to be carefully planned, and this is more evident with "Ombos". I don't think one can improvise on that kind of signatures. Ombos was effectively an ancient city, known in ancient Egypt as "Nubt" on which there's a great necropolis.

"T'l't'" has a funky start and becomes dark when the guitar enters. Bass and drums play perfect Zeuhl in the Magma tradition. I don't know what the title means, unfortunately.

"Sargasso Sea" reminds to Lovecraft but also to "Le Bateau Ivre" by Arthur Rimbaud. A sea covered by algae on which ships can't move because of the absence of winds and any kind of possible monster behind the surface. This is one of the most rock tracks, easier maybe, but this doesn't subtract anything from its goodness. The guitar is remarkable on this track.

Few seconds of dark ambient can give the illusion of something relaxing, also because we are in "Outerspace". This is one of the most uptime tracks instead, with an incredible signature underlined by the slapped bass, but with a very good keyboard layer and the guitar which in some moments sounds like Andy Latimer (in terms of sounds, not of notes). For me the best album's track.

"Humanized Fish From Encelade" is the most chaotic track in terms of melodies and signatures, and Philippe Haxaire makes an excellent work with his drum kit. I'd like to see this performed live.

"Home Of Nowhere" transports us to the depest obscurity. Here the Shub-Niggurath imprinting is strong. Drums and keys are the main elements. It's so dark that the following "Magnetostriction" can appear "pop" in comparison. Surely it's more rock-oriented, more August Derleth than Lovecraft if this can give the idea.

"Holocene Extinction" is even relaxing. The music seems to describe a desert world after the extinction happened, but it's only for about 30 seconds, then drums and bass bring in some rhythm.However this is not "tragic" as the title could suggest. I must remark that Holocene is the current geological period so this is about "our" extintion, nothing to do with dynosaurs.

"Shambala" is more structured. After a Floydian beginning it becomes jazzy with bass and drums on fusion rhythms. The tempo is quite slow. I think this is the easiest track of ths album. Less challenging but being challenging is not a must.

I don't know what "three Eyes" should mean, but the dark environment is completely restored. If it wasn't for the guitar which plays long struggling notes, it would have a free-jazz flavor. Less than three minutes of crazyness.

"Subdeath" closes the album in a horrorific way. This track reminds me of the Shub- Niggurath debut. It features the only lyrics, a bass pitched speech, of the whole album. I don't understand what the speaker says but I would be curious to know it, also to understand if my interpretation of the music's meaning (if there's a meaning) is correct or not.

It's an excellent addition for who likes the darker side of Zeuhl, not for everybody. In my opinion is a 3.5 stars album which I round up because of the excellent musicianship of the band's members. It's a debut. If tehy won't loose the way as Shub-Niggurath have done with their third album, we can expect exciting things.

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