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Ureas - The Black Heart Album

The Black Heart Album
by MarcusTheRocker at 06 February 2016, 12:53 PM

Let’s talk duets. They are a unique way to showcase the talent between two or more musicians of varying talents. The type of duets can vary depending on the style of the group or the individuals involved. Rock and Metal duets, for example, are mostly vocal and they usually showcase the different talents between two different vocalists. Some bands base their music around duets by having two vocalists in their band, who each take it in turns to sing lead vocal duties for different verses and choruses on a song. One name that springs to mind is AMARANTHE, who use a male and female vocalist in the band taking in turn to sing lead vocals, and the band featured in todays review also do the same, and their name is UREAS.

Forming in 1999 in Denmark in Finland, the members of the group all come from different backgrounds, but the two main brains behind the group are brother and sister combo Per and Heidi Johansson. Both have been involved with several music projects prior to the formation of UREAS. The group released their first album in 2006, entitled “The Naked Truth”. 10 years later, it’s time for the group to release a second album and they have done just that, so now it’s time to check out “The Black Heart Album”.

Clocking in at around 59 minutes long, the new UREAS album is quite possibly one of the most savage and weirdest Metal albums I have ever heard. It’s savage in terms of the melodies, which are by far some of the most powerful I have ever heard by, and it’s also one of the weirdest too. It’s weird because there’s parts which just sound very unusual to me, as I would not have expected them to be there, so needless to say, there are bits which take me by surprise, but more of that later on.

Starting off with the song “Hello”, you get a little taster of both the Gothic and Power Metal styles the band have adopted into their sound, as it’s chock full of savage guitars, powerful harmonics and, not one, but two lead vocal parts. These swap around throughout the song with one being soft and relaxing, and the other being wild and heavy.

A few other examples of this formula can be found throughout the album, as each song adjusts the style for each performance, giving it a sense of uniqueness. This can be heard on songs such as “Seven Deadly Sins”, “For Who You Are”, “The Valley”, “Seal This Moment” and “It’s All Around Me”. Some of the songs are mostly symphonic and use a lot of powerful harmonies, and some are straight up balls to the wall heavy as hell Metal numbers, adding in a sense of unique diversity to the music with the different styles and sounds.

As far as the performance goes, the melodies are different to each song as you have some which are symphonic, and some that are straight up Heavy Metal numbers. The musicians involved are very talented, as the melodies they create mash together rather well to create some very enjoyable moments. These range from the insane guitar riffs & solos, the symphonic keyboard melodies, and the pounding beats from the rhythm section combined with the twin vocals.

Production wise, the mixing is done quite well for an album of this caliber, and the fusion of Gothic and Power Metal styles is mixed together surprisingly well to create some songs you can enjoy and hear every bit of clearly.

Alas, things are not all positive, as there’s just one thing that bugs me. I do appreciate the use of two singers who each switch around the lead vocal duties depending on the verse or the song, but the performance just sounds a little off to me. This is most notable with the male singer, who focuses more on screeching and pushing his vocals to the limit, to be as savage and heavy as possible. This I do kind of admire, but at times it sounds forced, which does sour the performance a little bit, if you get what I mean.

The female performance is a little bit better, as it’s softer and more clear, but there are a couple of instances where it sounds a little off. In addition, both of the singers voices can become lost in the music in a few places here and there, meaning you can’t really make out the lyrics all that well.

Bottom line; the new UREAS album is one I found to be a very weird listening experience, but at the same time it was kind of mildly enjoyable, so I will give it a few points for being unique and different. It does, however, lose some points mostly for the vocals, which are not really my cup of tea. If you are looking for something different and unique to listen to, then by all means, give this record a spin and see what you think, as it’s uniqueness may attract you in places where it did not for me.

2 Star Rating

1. Hello
2. Seven Deadly Sins
3. Black Heart
4. Seal This Moment
5. V For Victory
6. For Who You Are
7. The Valley
8. Shut the Fuck Up
9. It’s All Around Me
10. All Alone Am I
11. Epistula
Per Johansson - Vocals, Keyboards
Heidi Johansson - Vocals, Keyboards
Jacob Hansen - Guitars, Producer
Mike LePond - Bass
Reece Fullwood - Solo Guitars
Michael Pitman - Drums
Record Label: Hansel & Gretel Records


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