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Uncreated Light - 2009 - "Whom Should I Blame"

(68:06, MALS Records)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Whom Should I Blame 5:03
2.  Burning Hearts 5:03
3.  Searching for the Destiny 4:47
4.  What Will Remain 4:38
5.  The Mystery of Water 5:06
6.  Legend 3:22
7.  Sweet Capture 5:23
8.  A Poet 4:50
9.  The Mighty of This World 4:09
10. Sign of the Time 6:23
11. Track 1 English Version 5:03
12. Track 2 English Version 5:01
13. Track 3 English Version 4:44
14. Track 4 English Version 4:38


Artem Mokry – guitars 
Helen Musienko – vocals 
Ilia Mamikin – bass 
VGiktor Bilan – drums 

Prolusion. UNCREATED LIGHT hails from Ukraine, and was formed in early 2008 by composer and guitarist Artem Mokry and vocalist Helen Musienko – as a direct successor to their previous band New Land. In 2009 they were signed by MALS Records, which subsequently released their debut album, "Whom Should I Blame".

Analysis. This new Ukrainian outfit explores a genre that may be described in many ways. Some would call their brand of music Goth metal; others might refer to it as symphonic metal, symphonic power metal, or even symphonic progressive metal. As music fans seem to get more and more preoccupied in the art of attaching tags to any musical flavor just slightly different from what has been made previously, this band will find themselves described in a myriad of manners as time goes by. Perhaps a new one will be made for their specific as well. A brief description of this act might be as easy as this: contemporary metal with female operatic lead vocals – an easy, superficial description that should guide any reader a lot better than the various tags attached to a band such as this one. It doesn't say anything about the details, but enough to let the curious reader take notice, while the ones not interested in music of this type by now will have moved on. The fourteen tracks on this CD cover ten compositions by the band, where the ten opening songs have lyrics performed in their native language, and the additional tracks are English versions of the first four. The compositional structure is pretty identical throughout, with slowly-paced, often elaborate and bombastic orchestrated synths and strings creating a grandiose symphonic landscape dominating the proceedings, while a pacier, hard-hitting metal construction serves up a stark contrast to those majestic sounds. The vocals of Musienko are placed in between these layers, more often than not in full-fledged operatic mode. The only real exception to this formula is the trackSign of the Time, due to its purified instrumental nature. Some variations are thrown in to add extra flavors to this production, like the folk-tinged opening passages of the tracks Searching for the Destiny and Legend, but these numbers eventually end up in pretty similar territories as the other songs. Musienko is the star of the show here. She has a stunningly beautiful voice in regular as well as operatic mode, and anyone with a sincere passion for female vocals should take note of this band right away. To say that her input adds to the total experience of this disc would be a gross understatement. The compositions themselves are a bit more of a so-so affair though. At best the interplay between the symphonic constructions and the aggressive metal foundation does create intriguing dynamics, and, in those cases where the lead vocals are tightly interwoven with these two textures, the end result is pleasing on many levels. On quite a few occasions we're treated to songs which individually can most likely be regarded as purebred progressive metal efforts as well, where the compositions contain sophisticated features beyond an increase or decrease of pace and intensity. However, in most instances the tracks are first and foremost vehicles for Musienko’s vocals of, providing contrasting elements for her voice to act upon, with little or no interaction between these opposing musical expressions.

Conclusion. Uncreated Light is a talented act, and features a lead vocalist that should have a long career ahead of her, no matter what genre of music she may specialize in on future endeavors. Her voice represents the best asset of this CD, and, if stunning operatic female lead vocals is something you like, this is a recording to take note of, in particular if you enjoy what many tag as symphonic Goth metal. Those who generally enjoy artists described as such should also find this effort to be of interest, as well as those generally fond of bombastic, melodramatic musical creations.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 19, 2010
The Rating Room

Uncreated Light - 2009 - "Whom Should I Blame"


Analysis. Following in the footsteps of successful international acts such as Nighwish and Within Temptation, Uncreated Light offer a brand of symphonic metal with progressive overtones that will send some listeners into fits of ecstasy, and leave others shaking their heads. While I cannot deny belonging to the latter camp, I approached “Whom Should I Blame” trying to hold on to my habitual balanced attitude. The question, however, remains: is it truly possible to be objective about music that just does not resonate with you? It would be an understatement to say that this particular subset of metal is an acquired taste. While its fans love it passionately, and collect every album that falls into that bracket, those who dislike it are equally passionate in their dislike – resorting to adjectives such as ‘cheesy’ and ‘overblown’ in their reactions. Granted, the musicians involved in producing this music are generally very skilled, and the vocals can be sheer delight for those who think the idea of combining opera with the intensity of heavy metal is the best thing since sliced bread. Right from the first listen, it becomes immediately clear that Uncreated Light’s ace in the hole is Helen “Eldiva” Musienko’s voice. Now, in spite of my Italian origins, I believe that operatic vocals belong in opera and not in rock (with very few exceptions), since the blending of these two genres far too often produces unrelentingly kitschy results. However, there is no denying that Eldiva has an impressive set of pipes, and her voice - regardless of musical accompaniment – is very pleasing to hear. In my opinion, such a voice would be much better served by music of a more subtle, less bombastic bent – the output of the great folk-rock bands of the Seventies, such as Pentangle or Fairport Convention, comes to mind. On the other hand, I am all too aware that that there will be scores of people perfectly happy with what is on offer on this CD. Most of the ten tracks on “Whom Should I Blame” have a similar structure, made of layer upon layer of keyboards (often imitating an orchestral accompaniment) soaring vocals and fusillade-like, double-bass drumming, with liberal sprinklings of occasionally shred-style guitar. Though there is nothing particularly progressive about this pattern, the grandiose atmosphere and frequent changes in mood within each track will appeal to those whose idea of prog is influenced by rather superficial factors. The slow-fast-slow pattern of the songs merges the intensity of metal with the lyricism of the vocal delivery in a mixture that, after a while, gets somewhat samey. While, as already pointed out, most of the tracks conform to this template, there are a few that offer some variation, like the mostly acoustic ballad Searching for the Destiny, the first half of Legend, with its romantic, folksy overtones, and the slow, piano-driven The Mighty of This World. Additionally, the instrumental Sign of the Time, placed at the close of the album (before the rather unnecessary English-language versions of the first four tracks) offers partial glimpses of something at least potentially different amidst all the shredding and bombast. While I do not think I will ever become a fan of this particular subgenre, I also believe that Uncreated Light stand quite a few chances of becoming the next success story (especially if they adopt English as their singing language). Not only are they musically accomplished, but Eldiva Musienko has all the makings of a star following in the footsteps of the legendary Tarja Turunen. In my personal view, though, the musical style showcased on the album is one of those things that are OK if taken in very small doses - certainly not for almost 70 minutes.

Conclusion. Fans of the likes of Nightwish, Epica, Within Temptation and their ilk will definitely be delighted by “Whom Should I Blame”, while those who are left cold by the cross-fertilization between metal and opera are not likely to change their mind after listening to this album. It is, at any rate, a solid, well-crafted effort from a promising new band – even if, in my opinion, their collective talent might be put to better use.

RB=Raffaella Berry: July 12, 2010
The Rating Room

Related Links:

MALS Records
Uncreated Light


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