Anyway, here’s the review.
Stars Wept to the Sea; it is an album. The moniker for this album is Unreqvited. Stars Wept to the Sea is the second album released under the Unreqvited moniker. Album review begins after the conclusion of this introductory paragraph.
The songs on Unreqvited’s Stars Wept to the Sea sound expansive despite mostly being quite narrow. Whilst slightly sitting behind guitar, bass and drums, ambient sounds build upon and strengthen the songs, helping to drive them along. Despite the disparity between the ambient, softer and louder, harder sounds in each song usually they blend. In addition to this a soft / loud dynamic common to music of this ilk is applied. The shifts work well enough for the songs but they do little beyond the superficial.
Despite their length the songs make good use of their time. Most sounds are purposeful and the songs rarely drag. The artist knows when to end a song which helps Stars Wept to the Sea feel shorter than its length.
Almost the entirety of Stars Wept to the Sea frames the songs around one two-note pattern. Sometimes there is the inclusion of extra notes. Sometimes the songs shift slightly due to the ambient sounds. However, usually the biggest shift comes down to which two notes are applied.
The prominence of the type of two-note pattern employed may be due to allowing easy emotional expression. It makes sense as the songs focus on emotion. Unfortunately this focus is so relentless that the album spends most of its running time telling you how to feel. Due to this moments of subtlety and quiet / loud dynamics lose most purpose outside of reinforcing the emotional push. This one issue beats you hard over the head with sadness, brooding and melancholy that the songs become highly melodramatic.
This is further exacerbated by the occasional use of superfluous sounds. The piano-driven “Empyrean” works well in its minimal parts but the inclusion of dramatic strings and choir vocals is excessive. They come off as tacked on, unnecessary and almost drown out the piano, therefore clumsily obscuring the strongest element. Rather than improve the mood and sound of “Empyrean”, these make the song sound bombastic.
Black metal screams make an appearance on half of the songs. They sound tortured but serve no real purpose. The album does have a strong black metal influence but the screams come off as being there for the sake of being there.
Choices like these harm the songs. They detract from the experience and only serve to push the album into excess. In conjunction with the melodrama, instead of coming off as poetic or moving these cause Stars Wept to the Sea to come off as pretentious.
That’s not to say the whole thing is bad. “Namida” takes on a softer and more relaxed structure. The song maintains a slower pace and sticks to gentle, tender sounds. This inversely makes “Namida” stronger than the rest of the album. As it leans closer to subtlety and drops the album’s melodrama the emotional expression is more effective.
“Namida” is the only song that maintains this for its entirety. However, there are other parts of the album that display good use of subtlety and atmosphere. The piano only sections of “Empyrean” are minimal yet effective in expressing mood. “Soulscape” is melodramatic but its introduction does a good job of establishing strong atmosphere without being too forceful. The gradual shift of the second part of “White Lotus” from intense to relaxed is genuinely expansive and displays excellent use of textural layering. These moments come through, but for each one there’s at least another that weakens the album.
On one hand the sounds used for the songs mostly are appropriate. They easily come together and add depth. On the other hand the songs are quite on the nose. Too frequently they tell you what to feel. Whilst there are moments that rise above the melodrama, they are few and far between. Overall Stars Wept to the Sea shows potential, especially if the artist decides to pursue soundtracks. The better moments show an understanding of how atmosphere can work to improve a song. However, the prominence of issues let the album down.
Stars Wept to the Sea can be found here.