Faced with his own mortality in the wake of a blood cancer diagnosis last year, musician Monte McCleery dealt with the stress of all the treatments, testing and uncertainty by writing new material for Un's upcoming debut album Tomb of All Things, to be released Decem. 4 via Black Bow Records.

Over a year has passed and McCleery is cancer-free, which makes the early response to Un's latest offering even more enjoyable for him.

"We haven't really talked about (the cancer diagnosis) because we don't want people to think we're trying to cultivate sympathy or something like that, but it's there and it's interesting to see that people are definitely picking up on those emotional aspects of the record,"vocalist/guitarist McCleery said in an email.

The record has resonated profoundly within the blogosphere, and even garnered some "Best of" consideration as this year in metal comes to a close.

The Seattle funeral doom outfit starts the journey with a short intro that functions as a proper hook, building anticipation for what lurks in the coming tracks, which is nothing short of horrifying, but at that point there's no escaping its lure.

The album's remaining four songs each clock in between 10-14 minutes, leaving me lost inside my head for the most part.



With the recent surge in doom metal’s popularity, sometimes longer songs fade in to the background after six minutes and I forget what I was listening to in the first place, but Tomb of All Things didn't just capture, and keep, my interest, it changed my mood. I wasn't just discovering another new metal album, but instead started pondering how much hurt goes in to creating such enjoyable music? Serious introspection ensued and when the last note faded in to the damp walls of my house, I broke from my blank gaze and hit the restart button.

“Sol Marasmus,” “Forgotten Path” and “Through The Luminous Dark,” all showcase McCleery's doom-centric musical vision, which he's honed over two previous Un demos and work with his other band Samothrace. The Un output does mimic the long, slow-moving pace Samothrace deploys, but not the droning vocals and repetitive riffs, which gives Un a more stripped and refined sound. Nothing to chew on but meat and bone.

The real shining moment on this five-track, 53-minute doom-laden dirge, though, comes in the album-closing title track. Any sense of hope that builds throughout the previous four eulogies climaxes in the middle of the last track as a drum roll accents a mid-paced guitar solo that pushes the song’s energy forward, but before it can crack the fog of solace it's quickly drown out under boding riffs and dissonant vocals. It's that despondency exactly which makes this record so fresh-sounding. Wallowing in its depressing soundscape for almost an hour is cathartic. The guitar work from both McCleery and David Wright is so misanthropic and desolate I can't help but think Edgar Allan Poe would have this on his writing playlist.

To label this album definitively as "doom" doesn't do it justice as there are far more musical components in action throughout, from Andrew Jamieson’s steady, jazzy drumming to McCleery’s harsh vocal delivery, which would sound more at home on a basement black metal recording. Ever-changing the listener's perception, to go in with the expectation of listening to a solid doom metal album will only leave the listener surprised and satisfied.

—Justin Criado



Un are playing tomorrow, Nov. 20 at Highline Bar in Seattle as part of No Quarter November, sponsored by Invisible Oranges. They'll also be playing an album release show on December. 4, performing the entire album, at Seattle's Black Lodge. Tomb of All Things will be released via Black Bow Records. Follow Un on Facebook and Bandcamp.

More From Invisible Oranges