Ceres is an extremely ambitious record, both musically and conceptually. A sci-fi space travel story is told through both the accompanying booklet and bits of dialogue scattered in between otherwise instrumental metal arrangements. It really works if you’re a nerd. Luckily for Montreal’s own (that’s right bitches) Unbeing, nerd is in right now, and so this record should do well.
Throughout Ceres, Unbeing runs the gamut of heavy subgenres, from death metal to psychedelic rock all the way to what the kids these days are calling djent. “Godspeed” recalls 80s thrashers like Exodus or Slayer, and should have even the most brain dead of denim jacket-clad purists bobbing their heads. Elsewhere, “Autopsy” is a calming and also fucking trippy piece of psychedelia, and it serves as the eye of the storm in an otherwise rather violent collection of songs. “Black Box” jumps back and forth between jazzy rock and straight up djent, and while the switch is a little jarring the first time, the huge, face-melting outro section more than makes up for it.
For a group that makes such an undeniably huge sound, Unbeing are a relatively small band, and they don’t even have a real drummer playing here. The one-man rhythm section of Alexandre Murdock D’Amour provides the drive through vicious sample work and uncharacteristically well-programmed drums. (Note: I have a problem with programmed drums in metal. It’s my problem, not yours. It’s fine here though.) D’Amour, incidentally, also handled all the mixing, with mastering done by Jason Baronette at Yellow Bird Studios, also right here in Montreal. Good job dudes! The John Petrucci– worthy guitar work is provided Sheriff El-Maghraby, and the insert-prog-keyboardist’s-name-here–worthy keys work is provided by Martin Labelle. I’m just kidding Martin, you did great.
If you don’t have the time to check out this expansive offering, then go be busy somewhere else. If, however, you’re interested in a really well done instrumental prog album with a lot of depth and a lot of heart, then Ceres is waiting for you.
Written by Syd Ghan
*edited by Kate Erickson