Years 1997-1999: Enraptured Fall from Grace
Shortly after the release of “Rapture” in February ’98 Unholy started to write new material. Now the band wanted to concentrate more on the arrangements. The new material was not as straight forward and cruel as “Rapture”, but it had little different emotional load. By the end of May ’98 the material for the next Unholy album was almost completed. During the writing process Veera joined the band as vocalist and a keyboard player. However, she did not have very much chance to participate the actual writing of the music.
In the mid-July Unholy entered the famous Astia recording studio in Lappeenranta, Finland. The sessions started nicely, and the professional atmosphere in the studio made a good impression to the bandmembers. Amidst of the video games, movies, and scatological images the band and the engineer-producer J. Jauhiainen worked about 15 hours per day in a sometimes cold, sometimes hot and sweaty conditions. Soon, however, the usual technical problems, that had plagued the band in every recording sessions so far, emerged. After some extra hours of intense work the problems were overcome, and sessions continued.
In two weeks the music was finished, and there was a month long break before the band returned to finish the vocal parts and to mix the whole album. In early September the whole job was done, and the band felt quite satisfied.
When returning from the studio the question about live performances came up. The new material could not be performed live satisfactorily with only four members, so Unholy added one limb more to its body. Jade Vanhala joined the band to play the second guitar. While still waiting to new album, titled “Gracefallen” to come out, the band started to rehearse for the future live shows. As Unholy had always been an unknown name in Finland, band found it quite difficult to get gigs on bigger stages. However, some gigs played and at same time band started to work with new material.
After quite solid and satisfactory Gracefallen album, band felt they want to do something different for next album! Some problems with Veera put the band in situation where it had to thank Veera for her services and say goodbye. Band needed a new female vocalist who would fit to more acoustic/rockish style, which still included the same melancholy that made Unholy known in metal genre. New style was some kind of “doom rock”.
Another big thing was also going on: Unholy needed to find a new record label, because the years with Avantgarde had already shown the (lack of) capabilities of that label, concerning organizing tours etc. About half dozen songs were written during the time band was seaching for a new label. Negotiations with Relapse almost lead to contract, but something strange was happening in Relapse organization at those times, and label’s contacts became less frequently all the time. Finally Unholy literally bored to dead, decided to hang instruments on the wall, and start to do something else. The official break up moment was in spring 2002.
The first Unholy album to be re-released through Peaceville was Gracefallen (1999). As a bonus the reissued album includes a previously unreleased song “Gone”. The song was originally recorded during the Gracefallen sessions in 1998 but has left out from the album by the band’s decision, since the song didn’t fit in well with the other songs’ style and atmosphere. But as bonus track it is perfect addition to the heaviness and melancholy of Gracefallen. Furthermore, it was the only leftover from the Gracefallen sessions, so now finally Unholy has released every piece of music they have ever recorded!
The reissue has been available through Peaceville Records since spring 2011.
Original issue front cover