Behind this intriguing name of UNIVERSE 217 is hidden a top notch female-fronted Doom Metal band from Athens (Greece). Released by Catch the Soup rds about six months ago, "Never" is their 3rd album.
After having discovered Beast in the Field recently, here's another experimented band which I never listened attentively until they contacted me (well, their promo agency this time)... and damn, they also did fucking well !!!
From the first introductive (and impressive) sole vocal line of "Mouth" to the last notes of "Never", you're merging with the band's sound in a nearly 45 minutes journey, encompassing the best elements of atmospheric Doom Metal.
If Candlemass and Led Zeppelin come regularly to mind as references, vocally most essentially but also musically wise, UNIVERSE 217 know how to craft pretty original soundscapes which never verse at all in the actual standards of the proto-Doom mania, rather more it would be towards 80's Heavy Doom Metal but nothing excessive and too prominent.
Heavy - eerie - epic and melodic could be the main words to accurately sum up the band's prestation, maginified by extremely graceful and mesmerizing vocals, overlaping guitar leads and ethereal atmospheres (including eastern tones like in "Enter" and "Harm"), UNIVERSE 217 maliciously mix and swap those constitutive elements, anything but randomly, depending of the song lenght and its place in the album.
No long and repetitive structures here, but believe me there's no lack of somberness and gradually built tension, even in the heart of the album where moods get a bit more quiet and experimentative ("Stay", "Gravity" or "She") !!!
Emotionally strong, this album goes for the heavy and dark with grace and bleakness, not only relying on a striking female vocalist (probably the most graceful voice actually in the scene with Uta plotkin from Witch Mountain) but on solid and imaginative compositions... if you like soulful Heavy Doom, give them a chance, they should not disappoint your expectations !