Portal to Darkness

Unblessed Divine

As a metalhead, I am familiar with the subgenre Atmospheric Black Metal, but I had […]
January 9, 2024

As a metalhead, I am familiar with the subgenre Atmospheric Black Metal, but I had never heard of Atmospheric Death Metal until now. So when I was made aware of such a band called UNBLESSED DIVINE, I was very intrigued to lend an ear to their music. UNBLESSED DIVINE was formed in 2020 and currently consists of two people: Polish musician Michał Grall formerly of the Dutch Death Metal band SINISTER and South African musician Lee Wollenschlaeger formerly of American Death Metal band MALEVOLENT CREATION. The duo's debut album "Portal To Darkness" was released last month on August 18th through German record label Massacre Records. With musical elements unconventional to other subgenres of Death Metal and haunting melodies, this is an album that does not disappoint.

The first track of UNBLESSED DIVINE's debut record is "Book of Lies," which is also one of two singles from the album. Like you'll come to discover on the rest of the tracks, "Book of Lies" starts off with a traditional Death Metal sound. Grall and Wollenschlaeger are both guitarists, and their riffs are nothing short of fast and intense. Młody is credited as the drummer for "Portal to Darkness" despite not being an official band member, but it's good recruiting on UNBLESSED DIVINE's part. His double bass rhythms and drumming style were pleasing to my ears. However–much like Atmospheric Black Metal–blast beat usage is rare, so "Book of Lies" is one of the few tracks where Młody uses this technique.

One "atmospheric" element UNBLESSED DIVINE uses is clean vocals, which Michał Grall is responsible for. They're used for the first time on the fourth track "Blacken the Soul," and it fits beautifully along with the keyboards and other instruments. However, the only other time we hear these vocals from the guitarist/keyboardist is on the closing track "The Glorious Flames." I wished we could have heard more of his clean vocals, because I genuinely enjoyed them, which–as a Death Metal fan–I'd never thought I would say. Above all, what definitely got to me were the haunting lyrics about Satanism and darkness, as if the tracks' titles and the incredible artwork weren't already a dead giveaway. I would say "The Exalted One" is the most Satanic track of all, with lyrics praising Lucifer and the beastly Leviathan. The following song "I Feed," the second single from "Portal to Darkness," is arguably a close second with mentions of destroying churches and feeding on a slain deity.

I will be honest here and say that before playing this debut album by UNBLESSED DIVINE, I had my presumptions about it. I expected it to be bad and unlikable. However, this Atmospheric Death Metal duo thoroughly proved me wrong. The Brutal Death Metal elements, mixed with experimentation of clean vocals and keyboards from Michał Grall, left a deep impression on me. I only wish that the band could have gone a bit further with their combination of clean vocals and Lee Wollenschlaeger's low-pitched growls. Overall, if you consider yourself a true fan of Death Metal, then I expect you to give "Portal to Darkness" your full attention.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








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"Portal to Darkness" Track-listing:

1. Book of Lies
2. Replace the Light
3. The Dark Supremacy
4. Blacken the Soul
5. God of Darkness
6. The Exalted One
7. I Feed
8. The Glorious Flames

Unblessed Divine Lineup:

Michał Grall – Clean Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Lee Wollenschlaeger – Vocals, Guitars, Bass
Młody – Drums (Guest/Session Musician)

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