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Kostnatění – Úpal

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 27 March 2023, 6:26 AM

From Bandcamp, “The sophomore album “ÚPAL” ("heatstroke") is a story of the human condition as a function of heat. The rise of consciousness in warm-blooded creatures has given rise to impossibly dense, illogical webs of thought that can completely divorce our lived experience from the physical world around us. Anxiety, fixations, and hallucinations can appear without material basis, setting our overactive neurons on fire. To bring this vivid scene to life, the band has become both more meditative and more chaotic, introducing influences from sources as varied as African folk and noise rock into its technical black metal basis. Evoking both the searing rays of the desert sun and the melting of one's sanity, ÚPAL walks the fine line between burning up and burning out.”

The album has seven songs. “Remen (The Belt)” is the first. The opening lines are tentative and dissonant both in the vocals and the music. The riff gets a little heavier, and you can hear the African folk influences. The sound picks up towards the end, registering for me as more Post Metal than anything else. “Hořím navždy (I Burn Forever)” is an eight-minute epic where the Noise influences come more into play. It’s chaotic, and with a loose structure. The vocals, however, are very much Black Metal. Do you remember early BLACK FLAG? That’s what the guitars remind me of…a lackadaisical but purposeful approach to the music.

“Rukojmí empatie (Hostage of Empathy)” is a shorter song still with those dissonant tones and eerie leads. The song moves much faster and has a bit more of a traditional Black Metal sound, especially considering the drums and vocals. “Opál (Opal)” is another shorter song, with very odd sounds. Credit the band for trying to think outside of the box, but I am not sure who might vibe with this discordant and hopeless sound. “Skrýt se před Bohem (Hide from God)” is the third shorter song. This song reminds me of the torture sequences in the movie Hostel. Those backing elements are mesmerizing and desperate sounding. Have you finally met the person who will end you?

“Nevolnost je vše, čím jsem (Nausea Is All I Am)” features more of both the African folk elements and the Noise Rock elements, swirling together in a fast moving song with a lot of anger and hate. “Slunce svázáno s krvácející Zemí (Sun Bound to the Bleeding Earth)” closes the album. It has another noise filled and chaotic sound. The chaos grows throughout the song until it reaches a frenzied crescendo, and then backs off to the end, with more desperate tones. If nothing else, this album was a reflection of what a band can accomplish when they set their sights off the beaten path. I do have trouble figuring out who their intended audience might be, but I appreciated the sense of uniqueness the band has.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Řemen (The Belt)
2. Hořím navždy (I Burn Forever)
3. Rukojmí empatie (Hostage of Empathy)
4. Opál (Opal)
5. Skrýt se před Bohem (Hide from God)
6. Nevolnost je vše, čím jsem (Nausea Is All I Am)
7. Slunce svázáno s krvácející Zemí (Sun Bound to the Bleeding Earth)
D.L. – All Music and Vocals
Andrew Lee – Drums
Record Label: Willowtip Records


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