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In the Polish metal scene, guitarist Maurycy Stefanowicz, aka Mauser, is best known for his contributions to the death metal band Vader. But a very different side of Mauser is unveiled on UnSun's debut album, The End of Life, which doesn't sound anything at all like Vader and has nothing whatsoever to do with death metal. Rather, UnSun offers a very commercial take on gothic metal, and like a lot of gothic metal and quasi-gothic metal bands, has a female lead singer. There are stylistic parallels between this melancholy and sorrowful but hard-rocking effort and recordings by Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, Evanescence, and the Gathering, but UnSun's material is decidedly slicker. Slickness, however, isn't really the thing that makes The End of Life problematic. The 42-minute CD's most obvious shortcoming is the fact that Aya, UnSun's lead singer, is unconvincing from a goth perspective. Aya favors a very girlish and childlike vocal style that would be OK on an average Euro-pop or Euro-dance disc but isn't effective in a goth-minded setting. Try to picture a female singer who sounds like she should be auditioning for an Ace of Base or ABBA cover band but somehow ended up in a gothic metal environment instead; that's what this 2008 release sounds like. The End of Life has its good points: the material is generally decent, if derivative, and there is never any doubt that Mauser remains a skillful guitarist. But the bottom line is that until Aya learns to sound more goth and less Euro-pop, UnSun will have a long way to go before enjoying the type of credibility that Lacuna Coil, the Gathering, Nightwish, and Within Temptation have enjoyed in gothic metal.
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