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Uada - Cult of a Dying Sun Award winner

Cult of a Dying Sun
by Chris Hawkins at 06 June 2018, 7:37 AM

The second wave of Black Metal took the Metal world by storm in the early to mid 1990s with some of the purest, most vile offerings to date.  Detractors and unbelievers claimed the genre was a gimmick relying on corpse paint, burnt churches, murder, and even fascism to create a media frenzy.  Now in 2018, it is with pride to proclaim an allegiance to the dark arts of music since the early days as the material has aged wonderfully and is now tried, true, and tested to stand the test of time.  While the buzz originated primarily from Norway and Sweden, it was inevitable that bands would pop up around the globe to try their hand at the style, and indeed they did.  It took some time for the U.S. to become established in the global scene, or at least to get proper credit.  That was not for a lack of quality material for bands and projects like ABSU, NOCTUARY, JUDAS ISCARIOT, LEVIATHAN, and many others have taken the genre and blazed new trails of aural malevolence.  Enter UADA.  Hailing from the music hotbed of Portland, Oregon and formed in 2014, the band turned quite a few heads with their debut album, "Devoid of Light," which was released just two years ago.  After earning more credibility and experience through some quality touring packages, the band saved up their collective ideas for their latest opus, "Cult of a Dying Sun".

Beginning with the track "The Purging Fire," the album starts with an EMPEROR-like symphonic layering of tremolo picking and hyper-speed double bass work.  The middle section is more of mid-paced affair including the verse section, and ultimately, the song is a fury-inducing ideal opening exposition of a more finely tuned, refined band.  The most aggressive and tense song is the second, "Snakes and Vultures," for it takes the intensity of the previous track and introduces an absolutely lethal shot of cold hatred.  The chorus, especially when shouting, "Fucking Snakes and Vultures" successfully conjures extreme feelings of misanthropic animosity, a job well done.  Perhaps the most gorgeously harmonized guitar work is in the sixth track, "Sphere (Imprisonment)".  The bass actually gets a solo moment in the middle, drenched in flange and distortion, and setting up the following melody soon repeated by the guitars.  Interestingly, in the only use of a non-cannon instrument, piano gradually creeps into the song toward the end getting louder and louder until fully drowning out all else.  "Mirrors," the final track, is the longest on the album and contains one of its most haunting melodies, accentuated by an original bass part performing its own chords.  The vocals in the later part sound deranged, clinically insane, and proprietarily hateful.

Rhythmically, the drums consistently provide the base upon which all is built, never performing too busy, and always in the correct place.  The album features a bass player that is substantially more up-front than is typical in Black Metal.  The low end is consistently audible, pulsing as strings vibrate the sub-harmonic intensity, a true counter-symphony of the lower clef.  The vocals also have a more creative role than normal in the genre as they vary from typical angry, harsh Black Metal vocals to shouts and even some Death Metal-like guttural passages intriguingly enough.  The bread and butter and focus of the project are the guitars.  They exhibit a big, open sound utilizing reverb to their advantage.  Chorus is tastefully added to modulate the sound on the leads giving them their own distinct flavor.  Having one guitar in the right ear and the other in the left also serves to open up the sound and enlarge it in a most traditional, yet effective manner.

UADA are true emissaries of the left-hand path as they offer this blackened opus to initiate loyal minions.  Now that they have been introduced to the scene as noted above, they are using "Cult of a Dying Sun" as the album to firmly establish themselves as elite Black Metal.  Parallels can be made to "Ride the Lightning," in fact, as this release showcases a much more mature, succinct offering of songwriting.  Notably, all of this is achieved while staying pure and true.  There are no gimmicks or outside influences to alter the color of the portrait, for UADA truly have the ability to effectively haunt the listener.  After all, isn't that what Black Metal is all about?

Songwriting:  9
Originality:  8
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

1. The Purging Fire
2. Snakes and Vultures
3. Cult of a Dying Sun
4. The Wanderer
5. Blood Sand Ash
6. Sphere (Imprisonment)
7. Mirrors
James Sloan – Guitars
Jake Superchi – Vocals, Guitars
Edward Halpin – Bass
Josiah Babcock - Drums
Record Label: Eisenwald


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Edited 09 December 2022

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