Why we would be receiving a promo (with a 2017 release date) for a record that has been out since March of 2016 is beyond me. Well, it’s not beyond me because this sort of thing happens all the time. Sometimes it occurs because of a band’s recent signing and re-release of an album or, other times, it’s because a new distribution deal sends the record overseas. Regardless the reason for the delay, I couldn’t pass up a last-minute TYMHM for Uprising‘s self-titled debut. Lucky for you, I have the kind of mole-like vision and cuttlefish hearing necessary for this job.
What initially caught my attention with Uprising is its mix of hard-hitting instrumentation and melodic atmospheres. Sure, other black metal outfits (like most of the second-wave acts) have these qualities, but Uprising combines subtlety with control. Every build, rasp, riff, blastbeat, clean vocal line, and acoustic guitar lick are deliberate and calculated. The production is much cleaner than your typical black metal release, which allows every instrument to ring through. And, just like so many great bands in 2016, a single employee mans this German outfit. The mysterious W—as he’s called—handled everything, including the pleasant DR7 mix.
And the fruits of W’s labor come through seconds into “Introduction.” While the opener’s title is horribly unoriginal, it sets the tone for the rest of the album. With growing guitars/drums and loads of movie sound bytes, a hopelessness is created that slithers and crawls its way into the album’s remaining tracks. Follow-up “Uprise” rides the opener’s train of thought, building its own introduction before black-and-blue riffage pummels your face. This is no tremolo-ed, treble-heavy blitzkrieg. Instead, it’s hard-hitting, headbanging black metal. Complete with melodic interludes, distant choirs, and a chorus that’ll soon have you fronting your own rebellion.
“Thrones to Overthrow” and “Behold the Eternity of Stars” share the same characteristics as “Uprise,” but, at the same time, they shoot for a higher level of epicness; doing their best to out-build and out-riff their predecessor. These two songs even utilize enthralling Dissection leads and solos to do the job. The result are two examples of majestic—and aggressive—black metal. “Ravens in Dark Skies” and “Nihilistic Chants” keep up the melodicness, but with a more sinister, mid-paced trot. The Quorthon-like vocals spew hate like it was sunflower seeds and the chug-to-melody ratio leaves me in trance. But the most menacing of the seven tracks is “Gather the Dark Spirits.” And it’s this very song that shows the layers that Uprising possesses. “Gather the Dark Spirits” is about as death metal as a black metal song can get. The vocals bark and growl, and the riffs churn out images of the apocalypse.
At the end of the day, that’s what makes Uprising so engaging. It’s simplistic black metal, but with an approach and diversity that keeps it fresh. The riffs kick ass, the atmosphere sucks you deep into an unknown chasm, and its forty-minute runtime is the cherry on top. Toss in some dynamics and raw, yet clean, production and you have a band (and a man) with a shitload of potential.
Tracks to Check Out: “Uprise,” “Gather the Dark Spirits,” and “Behold the Eternity of Stars”