Margarita Dunwich – Vocals
Anton Bronikov – Guitar/Organ
Mikhail Markelov – Drums
02. Through the Dense Woods
04. Wooden Heart
05. Mouth of Darkness
08. The Sea
Russian power-trio DUNWICH is about to release their debut album, entitled “Tail-Tied Hearts,” on Caligari Records. The eight-track offering brings something from nearly every corner of the metal world, bringing in elements of doom, prog, darkwave, black metal, post-punk, and plenty of other styles and ideas. In the wrong hands, this could be an incredibly unfocused, messy, and a recipe for untold disaster. Thankfully, “Tail-Tied Hearts” manages to avoid these problems due to the capabilities of vocalist Margarita Dunwich, guitarist and organist Anton Bronikov, and Mikhail Markelov behind the kit.
The three of them together create an attempt to dive into the bottomless ocean of your emotions; your inner psyche. This is an unexpected call in the desert of your consciousness; a walk through the dark forest of your mind. DUNWICH’s goal is to make you look into the abyss of your thoughts. It’s an album that can be listened to in parts, but for the complete experience, it demands to be absorbed as one whole. From the opening bars of ‘Glow,’ with a haunting yet beautiful piano melody and eerie vocals, to the closing seconds of the doom-laden track ‘The Sea’ that isn’t unlike BEHEMOTH collaborating with MASTODON, the album is an atmospheric deep-dive into the human condition that ebbs and flows as naturally as the passage of time.
The creeping melodies during ‘Through the Dense Woods’ create a wildly claustrophobic feel, and when mixed with black metal vocals and a distorted chorus, it’s absolutely effective in its delivery. ‘Solitude’ is an achingly beautiful and melancholic exploration of loneliness that explodes into a metal track towards the end, using near-whispered vocals to carry the melodies, while ‘Mouth of Darkness’ sounds like something that wouldn’t be out of place on an early DEEP PURPLE record; something like “Fireball” or “Deep Purple in Rock,” and it’s excellent. Heavy use of the organ from Bronikov elevates an impressive guitar riff and powerful drum beat, and it’s probably my personal favourite song on the album.
There’s a lot to love here, and my one real problem is that ‘Sanctuary’ or ‘Fall’ just didn’t hold my attention as much as the other songs did. By no means bad songs; they’re still solid tracks, they’re just not as good as the rest. Metal fans looking for an atmospheric slice of Gothic horror inspired music should look no further than “Tail-Tied Hearts,” an inspired play on words of the famous Gothic writer Edgar Allen Poe’s excellent short story ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’, as the album forces the listener to take a look inside our own souls and makes us realise we may not like what we find when we get there.
It’s a beautiful, melancholic, brave, deeply human, and emotional album, and it’s incredibly impressive to me that this is only the debut record from DUNWICH. I am intrigued by any future material the trio release over the coming years.