Album Review: Unparalleled Height - Rise of The Voiceless

Looking for heavy metal that is not about gratuitous guitar solos and senseless high-speed drumming? Look no further than Rise of the Voiceless, the debut release from Unparalleled Height.

Rise of the Voiceless was just one more album to sift through in my inbox. Until I listened to it. Then I realized that there is indeed hope in the current heavy metal landscape that is filled with bands that sound bland and interchangeable. Unparalleled Height (UPH) does NOT fall into either of these categories, and their debut album proves it.

Unparalleled Height hails from Pittsburgh, PA. Rise of The Voiceless debuted at #30 on the iTunes metal chart in November 2013. Upon first listen, you may be able to tell that their influences are definitely bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Black Veil Brides, and perhaps Bullet For My Valentine. However, the more you listen, the more you realize that the guys from UPH have something unique to offer their fans.

"Strength Through Silence" offers guitar harmonies in the intro, very Avenged Sevenfold like I might add, with elements of early Metallica especially with the tempo and time changes. "Screaming" sections are audible and the vocals have a very soft element to them as well, making the music easy to sing along to while you barrel down the highway to the drummer’s mad beats. Justin Welling is a name you are going to want to remember. His drumming on this album sets him apart from many other bands. His bass rhythms are nicely paired with quick yet precise stick work. CJ Masciantonio's guitar solo starts with a harmony but the double picking and almost electronic speeds of his furious work later on is a statement that good guitar solos add to the song, not detract from it. Tyler James Larkin provides the rhythm guitar support that is often under appreciated and underestimated. Make no mistake, Larkin's steady hold on the rhythm section along with James Davis' work on bass is what makes this album sound so tight. 

"Spare This Soul"'s mellow turn at just after 3 minutes into the track catches the listener by surprise and allows the band to show us that they are not a one-trick pony. The blazing guitar work is not an ego boost for the guitarist: it allows the melodic impact of the songwriters to reign supreme over the current tendency in the music industry to shut melody down in favor of less disciplined forms of guitar work.

When you listen to "Steadfast Spirit" and "Bridges to Nowhere",  you are left wondering how a human beings’ hands can move that fast with drumsticks in them and still sound tight and crisp. Welling is a machine and holds down the rhythm section while managing to stand apart from the plethora of drummers who seem to be using toms as a snare these days. (But that's a discussion for another day!)

We can't forget about the vocals. "Breaking The Chain" is in my opinion the most aggressive, vocally, on the album and it really shows the range of singer Dave Kelly's capabilities.

As we head into the final three songs of the record, we are treated to some slower tempos at the beginning of two very powerful songs. In "Legacy", the acoustic guitar work starts the track and instantly gains the listener’s attention because of its haunting progression. We are introduced to the heavy riff that will power the song just under a minute into the song, and the harmonies that follow are reminiscent of the kind of music that we used to all love to hear played in a huge arena. There is definitely room for an elaborate stage show once UPH breaks through as they most certainly will. 

"Dead End" once again fools the listener at first. You think you’re going to get a power ballad before the band opens up to an up-tempo, pedal kicking, riff that reminds you that UPH is a force to be reckoned with and not for the faint of heart.

Is there anyone else out there that absolutely loves the death knell of church bells? Nothing sounds that badass in just one note! If you're a fan of haunting sounds like funeral bells, then "Follow The Dawn" is the song for you. The bells that toll at the beginning of this song, coupled with the haunting riff that accompanies them is what is currently missing from so many rock albums. You know the sound I’m talking about. Black Sabbath are the masters of it, and AC/DC even managed to capture some of the mystery that only long bell tones can provide. It naturally sets the mood of the dark and sinister, and helps UPH take their debut album to the next level, letting their new fans know that this is not some poseur band that plays at your local college pub and is all about the image. Musically, for this reviewer, this track proves that this band is the real deal.

The band has recently played venues like The Hard Rock Cafe in Pittsburgh and just last night rocked the stage with Bobaflex, Titans in Time, and Odds Against Tomorrow. 

Do yourself a favor and check them out if you miss what real heavy metal is supposed to sound like, and keep your eyes peeled here in the upcoming weeks for our interview with the guys. You can find UPH over on Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, YouTube, and you can buy their album on iTunes or Amazon. You can also grab some merch to show your support over on the band's store.