UNORTHODOX (Awaken) CD
Finally, after fourteen years, Maryland's UNORTHODOX is back with a new album in 2008! Although the band was almost still around, playing numberless shows in Maryland during the last years, it seemed to me that there was no big interest from founder Dale Flood to record another album. But at first let me introduce the band to those who aren't familiar with the name. Formed under the name ASYLUM in the 80's, UNORTHODOX were one of the first to embark on their fusion of hard progressive psych Rock, combined with the typical Black Sabbath-influenced heavyness. In the early 1990's, the band has been dicovered by Hellhound Records, and released two albums in 1992 and 1994, entitled 'Asylum' and 'Balance Of Power'.
Without doubt this releases are timeless masterpieces, and their justified reputation as a killer live band was proved by a lot of shows, which UNORTHODOX played here in Germany. After 1995 not much has been heard from the band, especially here in Europe, what was really painful for their fan base. My first impression was that we almost lost the band, the fourteen year gap from 'Balance Of Power' to 'Awaken' underlining the slight thoughts of a final break-up. But it was The Church Within Records, again a German label, which signed the band and motivated Dale Flood to record a third album.
'Awaken' features all the hallmarks of their heavy sound: Dale Flood's significant clear vocals and unmistakable virtous guitar playing that owe as much to 70's Hardrock as it does to Progressive Rock, and this heartwarming, emotional feel which became tyipcal for most of the heavy bands from the Maryland area. After several changes in the line-up, Dale Flood recruited a new rhythm section with Gary Isom (Nitroseed, ex-Pentagram, ex-Iron Man, ex-Spirit Caravan) on drums and Mark Ammen on bass. I won't say, that this is the best line-up in the band's history, but both musicians are doing a very good job.
The here included ten songs are crafted with enough depth and melody to pull the listener in while still being technical yet ass-kickin'. In best tradition as on the previous albums, 'Walls and Bridges' and 'Drowning in a Wishing Well' are instrumental tracks, but not only here Dale Flood unfolds his virtousity. Overall, this is a magnificent album from a band which doesn't release sub-par albums. 'Awaken' contains also an extensive, artistically designed booklet, which rounds up the complete package. It's a touching album that sits as proud as any other in their catalogue. Now I only hope that it doesn't take again fourteen years until UNORTHODOX will release their fourth album.......