Album Review: VoidCeremony – “Threads of Unknowing”

VoidCeremony - Threads Of Unknowing

Well, after listening to Buke’s interview with Garrett Johnson, mastermind/guitarist/vocalist of VoidCeremony, I think I’m actually quite nervous about writing this review.  Of course, Johnson was completely affable and gregarious, but he was quite specific about how much he detested most of the reviews of Threads of Unknowing and VoidCeremony’s previous work, positive reviews included.  So, in the spirit of that conversation, I am going to take advice from Johnson: I will list out the things I like about Threads of Unknowing, I will list out the things I don’t like about it, and I will leave the final decision up to you, the listener/reader.  Although, spoiler alert, there are a lot more things I like than things I don’t.

Here are the things I REALLY like about Threads of Unknowing: First and foremost, the best thing this band could have done for themselves is to pick up Phil Tougas as their second guitarist.  Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel was an album that hit hard for me, and I loved a lot about it, but one thing I felt it was missing was more…bombast?  I felt like those songs were crying out for guitar solos, and there weren’t a lot to be found.  Not so on Threads of Unknowing.  Between Johnson, Tougas and bassist Damon Good (upgraded from session member to permanent member), there are plenty of solos and plenty of opportunities for the band to flex their improvisational chops.  Hell, there’s even a drum solo to close the track “Entropic Reflections Continuum”.  Which leads me into the second thing I really like about Threads: the band leans very much more on their jazz chops this time around.  There is a much better sense of dynamics on Threads, which makes the songs feel much more focused and impactful, but it also better exemplifies the nuances and phrasing each of the instrumentalists lean into.  There are moments on here that genuinely feel more like jazz fusion than death metal, and I am very much here for it.  Riffs feel less like the focus on Threads, and the band leans a lot heavier into phrasing and melodic lines, although of course there are still plenty of riffs to keep people from losing their minds over genre classifications.  At the end of the day, this feels like a very personal record, one that a lot of careful thought and love was put into, and I think it shows both the individual expressions of everyone involved and a very necessary expansion of the sound of a band who really can do just about anything that they put their minds to.

I guess here is where I list out critiques of the album.  If it sounds like I’m digging really hard to find them, it’s because I am.  I enjoy the absolute hell out of Threads of Unknowing.  It ticks all the boxes for me, unabashedly.  If I have to, I will say that if you don’t enjoy music that stops and starts on a dime, this will not tick your boxes.  Fortunately, I do, but I think for next time an important takeaway would be to let the songs build and grow even more.  I think all VoidCeremony songs should be over ten minutes long, so that each motif and part has a chance to really breathe and develop.  Maybe it’ll only end up being four tracks or less, but that’s totally fine.  With talent this massive in terms of composition and execution, I think that’s a pretty easy order.  Also, this would allow them to do the other thing that I kind of wish they did: get *really* weird with it.  Go more off the deep end, make it jazzier, make it stranger, more esoteric, really lean into it.  Again, not specifically a critique of Threads, more of a note for next time.  That’s it, that’s really all I can think of.  I goddamn love this album.


Obviously, now you know my personal take on it.  As stated, the goal here is to get you to decide for yourself whether this album is worth a listen.  For me, I think it’s got everything I need.  It marks a huge revving of the engines since Entropic Reflections Continuum, and it makes me extremely excited for what comes next, whenever it comes.  Also…fretless bass solos.


Threads of Unknowing is out April 14 on 20 Buck Spin.  For more information on VoidCeremony, visit their Facebook page.

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