We’ve got another taste of the exciting Belgian metal scene from unbeliever., who’ve honed a huge boundary-bending sound that combines crushing riffs, pounding rhythms and intense vocals with atmospheric melodies and synths.
unbeliever. formed in 2018 with founding members Terry (vocals), Quentin (guitar and clean vocals) and Nicolas (guitar) intent on bringing a fresh new sound and imagery to the Belgian metal scene. The next year they completed the lineup with Baptiste (bass) and Phil (drums), launched debut single Ad Astra and played their first live show. The ongoing pandemic slowed things down a touch but they’ve still managed to release two more singles and music videos.
But the focus on a fresh sound remains live and kicking. As Terry tells us: “Our sound goes from heavy, bouncy riffs to more dreamy, pop sonorities and atmospheric soundscapes. We don’t want to remain contained in one genre, we like to push boundaries and to take many elements from our diverse influences. Electronics are also a huge part of our music.”
The latest taste of this is the excellent Trnsprnt, which was released in October. It opens up with light synths and effects-ridden vocals, which drop into huge low-tuned guitars before rolling drums drop into light echoey vocals. The pace soon picks up with call and answer vocals, before driving into a huge chorus of Terry’s screamed vocals “Even when I roam these streets I never feel I’m really here, Just like walking in my sleep I’m going nowhere, Dead eyes, blank stare, Yeah I’m lost between those many shades of who I am, I scream in a room full of empty air, It’s like I’m slowly turning transparent” supported by synths and driving drums.
Big low-tuned guitars return, then drop into drawn-out guitars and rolling drums, which feeds into another chorus. Huge low-tuned stabbing guitars end the chorus alongside cool synthy effects, then drop into a light synth sound and mellow vocals. The heavier vocals return, then kick into clean vocals alongside big atmospheric instrumentals and feed into a big final chorus and booming guitars finish it off. Check out this huge, diverse track in the video below:
That was preceded by Cult, which starts out with light vocals and instrumentals, then explodes into life with driving low-tuned guitars and Terry’s drawn-out screamed vocals. That drops into high-pitched vocals over lighter guitars, then bigger low-tuned guitars kick in with a big bouncy riff that feeds into another atmospheric chorus. Check it out in the video here:
And both followed debut single Ad Astra, which begins with piercing drawn-out guitar notes that drop into a filthy low-tuned riff. Clean vocals top an atmospheric opening verse, which explodes into a bouncy riff and huge screamed vocals “Lost on your way to paradise, Upon the mountain of your desire, You stare straight into your God’s eyes, Defying his kingdom.”
The clean vocals take over, he heavy vocals respond, before the two engage in a call and respond section. That drops into a low stabbing synth and light instrumentals alongside whispered vocals. A building guitar riff kicks in and drops into low-tuned stabs of guitar under a cool little meandering solo, before a cool bouncy riff brings it to a close.
On the reception for their first three tracks, Terry told us: “Even if we all had bands before, we knew that we were gonna start from scratch with this one. When we recorded Ad Astra and Cult, we did not know how the reception was gonna be, so we tried our best to deliver qualitative content with Dave from Pitchback Studios and Sam for our debut music video. As soon as the band went live on socials, plenty of people started to follow and express kind words towards our work. It was heartwarming to see it all grow so fast, with now more than 18k views on Youtube, plenty of articles and interviews, reaction videos and our songs added to many playlists on Spotify.”
unbeliever. do a great job of combining different sounds and harnessing the elements of different genres. As Terry explains: “We always try to not fall in one particular genre and each one of us has very eclectic tastes. We listen to a lot of artists, either in the hardcore/metalcore scene and the electronic, alternative or even hip-hop scene. But from the start, a few bands really inspired us to create our sound. One of them is definitely Deftones. We also like the take of certain artists on music: the best example is Bring me the Horizon and how they keep redefining themselves with the years, exploring unknown territories to never do the same thing twice.”
The lyrics usually come from Terry and Quentin and typically focus on the state of the world around us and mental health. Terry told us: “With unbeliever., I wanted to talk about things that I know and experience, and one of my main themes may probably be mental health and how the society in which we live in contributes to it, be it in a good or bad way.
“Ad Astra was a reflection on the human condition and our constant hunger for more. Cult and TRNSPRNT are self-centered and were written in darker moments of my life, talking about anxiety and depersonalisation. I believe music can be a way to exorcise your demons, a catharsis both lyrically a musically.”
As alluded to in the intro, we’ve met a few exciting Belgian metal bands in the last few months, including the likes of Moments and Titans. On their local scene, Terry said: “The Belgian scene is in perpetual change. In the past 10 years, a lot of bands came and went, and not that many stayed. For instance, our friends from Wolves Scream, If I May and Moments may be few of the oldest hardcore bands still alive in the scene.
“But you also have a lot of exciting new acts emerging every now and then the thing is, Belgium is a small country and you have a lot of hidden gems. It’s hard to cross borders and get known on the international scene without a push, but we have the chance to have a loving interconnected scene, so a lot of Belgian musicians know each other and help each other. Belgium is also the cradle of many amazing festivals.”
The ongoing pandemic had a major effect on unbeliever.’s launch plans, cancelling shows and finding new ways of connecting with a new audience. But they’re intent on getting gigs in the book for 2021, as soon it’s safe to do so, and are focused on honing their live show over recording. As Terry says: “It feels like we’ve given a taste of what unbeliever. sounds like, and now we want to expand it and show what kind of live experience we have to offer.”
We love the sound that unbeliever. have honed, which fuses hard-hitting metal with dual vocals and ambient, atmospheric and electronic elements that really keeps the listener on their toes.
Listen to unbeliever. and more new metal on the GigRadar Metal Spotify playlist