You’ve all heard those albums that straight away exude a certain feeling, often the most palpable being the most negative like hopelessness and nihilism. Arms of Ra’s Unnamed is an album that portrays a lot of this. The Parisians’ first album is an incredibly bleak work of sludge, branded by a blackened drape over the short 31 minute running time. For the most part, Unnamed is agonisingly slow and pummelling, but can take in moments of pace, drawing from the band’s hardcore tendencies. It’s the perfect complement to the album’s doomiest elements.
It’s a record that sounds possessed, all attributed to vocalist Mathieu. His searing screech is the record’s focal point and commands the listener’s attention as he draws you into Arms of Ra’s harrowingly desolate world.
A concept album, Unnamed features six “independent” songs that converge for one grander scheme, detailing the “story of a man trying to deconstruct himself and disappear from society”. The vague plot of this tale actually goes a long way in capturing the essence of this album’s sound. Each of the six songs has their own unique edge, but this is still an album that requires you listen through, with undivided attention.
Unnamed may conjure up a lot of emotion and vitriol, but that’s not to say that it is not without its flaws. Firstly, at only 31 minutes, the album is criminally short, leaving behind a feeling of vacancy after the agonisingly slow doom of closer, ‘To Be Acknowledged is to Exist’. In that time though, Arms of Ra accomplish quite a bit. ‘Personnalite décharnee’ cascades with dissonant vibes throughout giving way to the short title track and the wounding passages of ‘Write My Name and Forget It’.
Definitely some interesting things afoot with this band, it’s nothing to stop the press for yet but most certainly one to keep an eye on in the future.