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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Uzala - s/t

Any normal year and this would win doom album of the year easily enough. Unfortunately for Uzala, Pallbearer decided to drop their masterpiece this year. Nevermind, you can still buy two great doom albums in one year can't you.

The vinyl is out on At War With False Noise and is an example of exactly how to do an LP. Proper old-style thick card sleeves like they used to do in the 50s/60s. Super heavyweight vinyl. Thick innersleeve and great artwork which has been drawn specifically for the record. Oh, and great tunes too.

Musically I think doom might not be an accurate description. I think we can go back to heavy metal for this lot. For the most part they kick along with the Sabbath but there's also occasional hints at fuzzy black metal, NWOBHM and almost straight up punk. Wardrums, which kicks off the second side, even has hints of Killing Joke. It's all one sound though and not just disparate parts glued together. It all fits.

The sound of the recording is also great. It's got that warm but raw sound of proper old metal. All the instruments are completely clear and it's not muddy at all but there's no horrid studio polish thrown everywhere. I wouldn't be suprised if you told me they'd got a wizened old analogue recording expert to drag a vintage 8 track recorder down to the practice room.

I like the way that the male and female vocal parts complement each other as well. She's got a bit of gravel in her voice and he's not just barking.

The tunes also get stuck in your head and have loads of hidden ideas that appear after a few listens. First time round it didn't quite grab me but then you quickly get it. Certainly not a one-dimensional doom band just throwing out the standard obvious riffs for cheap kudos. It's fully steeped in underground guitar music history and Uzala will still be talked about (and, no doubt, the members will still be digging underground metal) long after the current crop of sounds-like-a-copy-of-current-popular-metal-band bands have departed.

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