Like many metalheads, I discovered Unreqvited with their 2016 debut album, Disquiet. A lot of bands and independent artists release phenomenal music that seemingly disappears into the void. Unreqvited, however, attracted a very loyal following right from the beginning, simply because the music is good. Much like Pink Floyd, Unreqvited has somehow managed to both write great music and get the recognition it deserves! They found the elusive middle ground between writing music that’s empty and formulaic to please record labels and appeal to the masses, and writing real music straight from the heart, no filters, boldly exploring the unknown, music which often scares listeners away because it’s too long, or too complex, or doesn’t fit neatly into any category, and it challenges the norm.
To be clear, Unreqvited is not what most of us would consider famous. Most metal music falls under the public’s radar. However, when one likes the metal that rises to the surface (think Slipknot, Metallica, Black Sabbath, I could go on forever) and feels compelled to dig deeper, they will discover a never-ending rabbit hole of more music than anyone could imagine, with a very loyal community of people who consider music important enough to not be satisfied with what they’re fed on the radio, but to find music that they like, even if no one else does, music that resonates on a personal level and makes them feel something. This rabbit hole isn’t just a hobby, or a way to fit in with a certain social group, or background music for McDonald’s to play. It’s a need. And the metal community fell in love with what Unreqvited has to offer.
Unreqvited’s debut album Disquiet was very well received, and they didn’t stop there. They’ve continued to be very active and unbelievably prolific. With each album, their music has evolved and matured, never ceasing to amaze, rather than clinging to the successes of the past, which can cause music to quickly grow old, stale and repetitive.
Just as fast food is chemically designed to taste good while failing to truly feed us and keep us healthy, the mainstream music industry churns out a lot of music that’s simple and easy for people to understand, while throwing away most of the depth and authenticity behind the music, because that’s too risky, and probably won’t make as much money, hence leaving our souls hungry and unfulfilled. The faces who suddenly explode overnight don’t last long. They’re disposable and in a few years, nearly forgotten. Only a few artists maintain a strong, loyal following, and they do this by staying true to music for the sake of music, regardless of their level of financial success.
It was hard to pick one song to feature. This is a band I follow closely, and when I listen I usually play an album rather than a song or two. Permanence is one of the few songs that stands out to me. It seems that the last song on each Unreqvited record is a very strong one so the album goes out with a bang. Permanence starts out with a pleasant vibe, as do the other songs on Mosaic I: l’amour et l’ardeur, and over the course of 13 minutes, it takes a darker turn, ominously builds up pressure, and suddenly, you get fucking SLAMMED IN THE FACE with some of the darkest, heaviest, angriest music you’ll ever hear. My description doesn’t do it justice; give it a listen!
Unreqvited isn’t just a metal band, nor are they post-rock, or black metal, or symphonic metal, or anything else. They pull from seemingly every corner of metal (and you wouldn’t believe how many subgenres metal has branched off to since the 70s!) and wrap it all up into a unique, untouchable style, spanning far and wide across the landscape of emotions from delicate light and beauty to unforgiving darkness and pain, and everything in between and beyond. The music has a foundation in rock and metal and all that entails, while also incorporating classical music and even some electronic sounds, a combination which proves to be very powerful at the hands of a musician like Unreqvited.
That’s right… Unreqvited is a one man band with an imagination that’s seemingly limitless. The truth is, we all have that potential. Not all of us are musicians or artists in the traditional sense. Whatever you do with this life, whether you’re a mother, a father, a scientist, a cashier, an accountant, a serial killer, a lawyer, a programmer, a writer, a factory laborer, anything at all, creativity is invaluable. When challenges appear, creativity allows us to keep moving forward no matter what challenges may arise.
Just like any skill, creativity comes easily to some and less easily to others, and just like any skill, creativity can be cultivated. This pursuit can easily become a lifelong journey of self-improvement and growth, because what hinders creativity? Negativity! How do we overcome negativity? By approaching our shadow selves with love, casting light on the dark recesses of our mind that lay past the big DO NOT ENTER signs, and rather than avoiding the triggers that cause stress and escaping the resulting stress, we grow by raising the threshold for stress, observing and accepting our feelings, allowing them to run their course, so that life becomes less overwhelming, and can instead become more and more enjoyable.
One thing I love about the metal community is that because it’s so niche, because it’s out of the mainstream, it’s smaller and more personal. It’s about quality, not quantity. Go to the right metal festival and you’ll find all kinds of people who all have one thing in common, and everybody starts to become friends, and you even get to meet some of your favorite musicians, because guess what? They don’t need to hide on the stage behind security! When they’re not playing, they’re out selling merch or joining the audience while other bands play. They’re not distant godly beings behind a wall of fame. They are us, and we are them. We support each other.
The reason I went on that little rant is this: because Unreqvited is a one man band, and he often layers a lot of orchestra sounds and synth sounds, playing live isn’t possible currently. He also tends to be quiet online to keep Unreqvited about the music rather than the face behind it. Despite that, I’ve still had the pleasure of talking to the man himself, who goes by 鬼, via messages online. I don’t have many people to talk to about art and the frustratingly elusive nectar of life that is creativity, so I try reaching out to musicians I like. I like to hear different perspectives (speaking of which, I will soon feature one such artist I’ve spoken with!).
Getting to actually meet one of your favorite artists (even if it isn’t face-to-face) just makes their music that much more special. It makes you realize they’re just a regular person like any one of us! They’re not some distant superhuman on a pedestal who’s too good to bother interacting with us lowly mortals. They’ve simply had some success in finding their creative voice, and that serves as a huge inspiration that yes, I can do it too, and we all can. Success might not be what you expect; what’s important is to do your best, keep trying, keep moving forward, and you will die knowing that you lived life, with nothing to regret.
Before I go, I want to mention that Unreqvited has recently announced their fourth LP, Mosaic II: la déteste et la détresse, which can be found here on Bandcamp, and releases Jan 10, 2020. I have no doubt it will be phenomenal.
Jake Duncan - Art Portfolio | 3D, Drawing, Music, Writing
I'm Jake Duncan. I make music, 3D art in Blender, and write poetry.
This is a cross-post from my Steemit blog.