Saturday 7 December 2013

Uzala - Tales of Blood & Fire (Album Review)

Album Type :  Full Length
Date Released : 15/10/2013
Label :  King Of The Monsters

Tales of Blood & Fire, album track listing :

1). Seven Veils 07:05
2). Dark Days 12:11
3). Burned 08:46
4). Countess 11:18
5). Tenement of the Lost 04:18

Bio :

Boise distorted doom shamans UZALA have returned with their sophomore album, and are heavier than ever!

Recorded at Witch Ape Studio with the inimitable Tad Doyle this past January and mixed/mastered at Soli Studio by Mell Dettmer (SUNNO))), Boris, Earth, Wolves in the Throne Room, WOLVSERPENT), 'Tales of Blood & Fire' will be released through King of the Monsters on October 15, 2013. A limited edition cassette version of the album will be soon available from Gypsy Blood Records.

The album features five gloriously heavy, beautifully deranged tracks of sludgy, psychedelic, fuzzbombed doom worship, and comes graced with ethereal cover art by the hypertalented Tony R. (

UZALA recently completed an extensive US tour with YOB vocalist Mike Scheidt, appearing alongside heavyweights like Sabbath Assembly, Mount Salem, Hammers of Misfortune, Eagle Twin, and more - including a stop at Autumn Screams Doom Festival II  in Baltimore. Their live show earned glowing reviews like this one, from the mighty Obelisk: "Uzala‘s grooves were immersive on the immediate, and the periodic onslaughts of noise that came with Remains‘ solos only added to the overarching gnarl of their doom. They were, as so few bands are, an example of the difference a great drummer can make, as Chuck Watkins (also of Graves at Sea) alternately propelled and lumbered songs like “Burned” and “Dark Days,” the band hitting their own Vitus moment in the noisier wash of the former. Highlight moments came later into their set though, as the extended “Countess” proffered choice tempo shifts and a particularly right on performance from Nutt on vocals to go with the slowly unfolding riffs, and the subdued later stretches of “Tenement of the Lost” closed their set..."

Review :

Uzala are a doom band with some psych tinges that splits their home between Portland and Boise. Featuring some classic amp manipulations and worship, as well as some sweet female vocals in the form of primary vocalist Darcy Nutt, their latest release is the ominously titled 'Tales of Blood & Fire'. It's crammed with down tempo desperation and an unhealthy obsession with the darker side of life. So pretty much a great slab of doom, then.

Starting out with 'Seven Veils', the melancholy is an instant factor, with the longing and slight touches of guitar that give way to a tasty, sluggish doom riff. Nutt's vocals are like pouring sugar on said slug, something creepy covered in something sweet. She's possessed of a sorrowful, clear and haunting set of pipes that only lends even more to the band's (and indeed this track's) powerful presence. It's a cut that's covered in fuzz and moss, left for aeons to grow ancient. Really, really good slice of doom.

'Burned' is a far more evil affair, instantly more heavy. Nutt's vocals are once again at odds with the feel of the music going on around her, which only seeks to ramp up the notion of remorseful events taking place - it's like she doesn't belong there, but you're glad somehow that she is. The entire band really let's rip at around the 3 minute mark; both guitars really kick it up a notch before retreating into a slithering and forlorn pace again. More good doom, done right.

The 5 track record closes with 'Tenement of the Lost', which to this listener channels the spirit of early Candlemass (at their peak - that'll cause divisions!). There are maybe some hints of classic 70s or occult rock littered throughout too, showcasing the wide influences that Uzala borrow from. This is probably my favourite cut from the album too; it's a well placed piece with some righteous solos that'll get that head nodding. Great way to close out proceedings.

Like Demon Lung's 'The Hundredth Name' from earlier this year, 'Tales of Blood & Fire' is more splendid US doom featuring prominent female vocals. When backed up by the truly classic riffs that the genre can inspire, they go hand in hand perfectly. Uzala are a wonderful thing to listen to, they sound like they occupy the night, but they sure as hell don't go quietly into it.

Words by :  Matt Fitton

You can buy it here

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