If I hadn’t known that this was a debut album upon first hearing it I would have sworn this was at least the third album from these Bolton based young rockers, never mind that ‘difficult’ second album! The production values here are outstanding and the whole album has a feel of quality that was, I must say, quite unexpected.
Unknown Refuge formed in 2016 when 15 year old Alex Mancini joined forces with 4 friends. Within 6 months they entered and won the Salford Battle Of The Bands. There followed various changes to the line-up with Alex taking up the bass guitar and drummer Morgan Deveney coming on board. That band is completed with Jack Tracey on lead guitar and Harry Skinner on rhythm guitar.
From The Darkness opens with the atmospheric instrumental title track before exploding into To The Light, an excellent hard rocker reminiscent of Volbeat. Superbly riffy with wailing guitar licks, this track hints at the sonic delights that lay before you. This was the band’s first single, released in August 2020 to rave reviews!
Kicked To The Floor keeps the energy flowing nicely, establishing the band’s melodic rock credentials in fine fashion. A great vocal is on display here, as indeed there is throughout the album.
Track 4, Battle Hymn kicks off with a stirring drum solo and a driving rhythm that just flows like a raging torrent! If this song doesn’t get your head shaking then nothing will! The energy is truly intoxicating and the guitar solo is simply sublime!
Shadows was the second single taken from the album and has a darker feel, appropriately so as it deals with the demons that may come with the night. The chanting chorus of ‘Fight, Fight, Fight’ is infectious!
Palace Walls is another dark song that starts out with a monumental riff that reminds one of the opening of a horror movie! Another track with a pounding rhythm that is inescapably good.
Wall Of Lies deals with the fear felt by many that the attention is all on them and they have to present a fake front. Sound familiar? A great statement about one of the problems with social media today, delivered in the form of an excellent song!
Track 8, If The Gods Be Good, is the third single taken from the album, and what a banger this is! Plenty of ‘woooah’s to keep the melodic rock faithful happy! I can see that this song will definitely be a crowd pleaser when live gigs are possible again!
I’m Not A Bad Guy is a frenetic explosion of sound with a pounding beat that will definitely get the blood pumping! Some insane drumming here and a guitar solo that demands the utmost respect!
The album closes with Journey that opens with a twin guitar riff that puts one in mind of Thin Lizzy. The lyrics speak of the struggles of life’s journey with the hope of finding a way through it all.
Whilst listening to this fine album it’s easy to forget the youthfulness of its members. The lyrics themselves are thoughtful and mature and the musical structure would suggest a band that has been around considerably longer than a mere 5 years. These guys have clearly learnt their craft at an incredible pace and if they continue on this trajectory I can see only good things coming their way. As a debut album this is truly exceptional and I am confident that they will gather support from an international audience which will be richly deserved.
The album From The Darkness is due for release in March 2021 and is available to preorder now from www.unknownrefugemerchandise.bigcartel.com.
Words: Nick Luxford
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