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Usnea - Portals into Futility

Portals into Futility
by Marcos "Big Daddy" Garcia at 08 December 2017, 7:45 AM

Today, to play Doom Death Metal is not an easy task. My words are not pessimistic, but having in mind that PARADISE LOST already released “Lost Paradise” and “Gothic”, MY DYING BRIDE marked an era with “As the Flower Withers” and “Turn Loose the Swans”, ANATHEMA in their golden age created “The Crestfallen” and “Serenades”, all these albums being cornerstones from the genre, it becomes a true and hard task to be a band in this way. But there are some that have courage to face such difficulties and do fine works. The North American quartet USNEA is one of them, and their third release, “Portals Into Futility”, is a tutorial of how to play this musical genre without being a copy.

Of course many of the well-known features of Doom Death Metal are presented on the album, as the slow tempos and the long songs. But some elements from Blackened Death Metal can be heard as well, and even some clean vocals on Gregorian somber choruses. So we can say that the quartet is really very good, running always from what in Brazil call “the comfort zone” (an expression that means that some bands do not dare to create something, but always follow what was already done).

The sound quality is truly abrasive and raw, but making their musical work understandable. This mix of sound rawness and filthy with an abrasive insight and a good level of clarity was a very good idea that Fester (the album’s producer) and Adam Gonsalvez (who worked on the mastering) had, so the musical work of the quartet gains a lot of personality due the production.

All the songs from “Portals Into Futility” are very good, and the bitterness and rusty feeling of “Eidolons and the Increate” (very good Gregorian chants and excellent atmospheric guitars), the introspective raw melodies of “Lathe of Heaven” (with some clean guitars and piano touches), the fine vocal parts on the dense atmosphere of “Demon Haunted World”, and the greasy sound created by bass guitar and drums (along with the guitars) on “Pyrrhic Victory” and “A Crown of Desolation” will seduce you all. This album is really excellent, and USNEA is a talented band, indeed.

Originality: 8
Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Eidolons and the Increate
2. Lathe of Heaven
3. Demon Haunted World
4. Pyrrhic Victory
5. A Crown of Desolation
Joel Williams - Bass, Vocals
Justin Cory - Guitars, Vocals, Piano
Johnny Lovingood - Guitars
Zeke Rogers - Drums
Record Label: Relapse Records


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