Uada – Cult of a Dying Sun (2018) REVIEW

With sudden and indefinite release from a lifetime in Ceremonial Castings The Witcher (Jake Superchi) quickly formed melodic black metal project Uada alongside Infernus members Graveloader and Crucifixus in 2014. One could easily argue that his contributions to albums like ‘Cthulu’ had begun to lean heavier towards melodic black metal but nothing with the grand fluidity of the sub-genre’s ancients. With Uada‘s ‘Devoid of Light’ the bridge between a love for 90’s Scandinavian extreme metal and modern artistry was built perfect and shining. Rippling and pulsing like the second coming of ‘Far Away From the Sun’ with the thoughtful stomp of Inquisition growling in alternation, their debut left a lengthy, freezing shadow of high expectations within all it touched.

In some greater defiance of expectations their follow-up ‘Cult of a Dying Sun’ soaks itself in the excess, trading the currency of resemblance for a stab at relevance. However conscious of the Mgła comparisons and resemblance Uada are, it seems fans can’t stop pointing it out. When I personally sit down and make a direct comparison through listening, I believe this only holds up for ‘browsers’ and not consumers. If you skip through albums without listening and only get an idea of the sound, perhaps commenting is worthless. That said it would be reasonable to hear bits of ‘With Hearts Towards None’ as influence on either Uada release; It isn’t so pronounced that it needs to be overstated. Self is a reasonable comparison to make, at least in my mind and in most respects ‘Cult of a Dying Sun’ is an entirely different record than their debut.

For this record they’d employed Helleborus drummer Brent Boutte, who has since been replaced, as well as key Sjukdom member C. Nihil on bass. If you’re not familiar with Sjukdom (the Oregon based one, not Norwegian) their 2017 album is an eclectic mix of modern black metal influences that range from atmoblack to black ‘n roll. New staff and some line-up changes perhaps only had some small effect upon the sound of the record. Original drummer Trevor Matthews (Pillorian, Infernus) is more influenced by old school extreme metal drumming whereas I feel Boutte‘s performance was at least written with a modern angle in mind. So, what is modern extreme metal seen through the eyes of a newly established melodic black metal band? Double the length, pensive atmospherics, and some moderate extensions of previous ideas. For a band like Uada this general approach is reasonably satisfying as iteration.

Hesitant to indulge ‘Cult of a Dying Sun’ and it’s excess, I put off this album’s initial listening for several weeks. Uada have delivered a war of attrition and with a full hour of music you will either tap out, sit and seethe, or curl up in a ball and stare blankly into your ruinous self. In fact if the first album had some great feeling of majesty and heart ‘Cult of a Dying Sun’ has a vacuous, rotten yarn of resignation to coil. Be it introspection, intimacy, or a cyclic message of imbalance within a system of duality Uada preach from a pulpit secure in the finality of our end times. Classic, fluid, and ingratiatingly dour melodic black metal guitar work directs the flow of the record in a hard press for connection with the listeners ear. Each song digs for resonance with a certain fury and this enlightened desperation is diluted by extended compositions that feature overblown atmospheric black metal sections and unnecessary repetition.

I’ve found some great comfortable pocket within this record only because I am a fanatic of melodic black metal and this is exactly an appropriate modernization of it’s earliest forms. It is sorely missing out on some connection to the first album, which was half of the length and far more powerful, and this is perhaps what frustrates the engaged fan more than trend or shifting influence. If there was a need for an extra twenty minutes of atmospheric black metal in Uada‘s repertoire per album, then good on them for expressing what they needed to; As a fan of their core style, I would rather deal with a more direct and less wandering affect. I have alternated between dissatisfaction, and some self-conscious feelings of spoiled-ness, in terms of my only complaint being ‘too much of a good thing’. To clarify, the root of any sour observation is that great, freezing shadow of expectations preceded by the glorious, succinct power of ‘Devoid of Light’. Taken as it is, ‘Cult of a Dying Sun’ is a memorable, enthralling soar through the obliteration of the self.

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Artist Uada
Type Album
Released May 25, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Eisenwald Production’s Bandcamp! Follow Uada on Facebook
Genres
Melodic Black Metal
Atmospheric Black Metal

Great onyx gorge beneath all. 4.0/5.0

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