Review Date: September 2020
Released: 2020, Eisenwald
Portland, Oregon’s Uada (which translates to ‘haunted’ in Latin) are back with their third full-length recording entitled DJINN, along with another chilling album cover by artist Kris Verwimp. Featured are six tracks of modern black metal clocking in at 60 minutes.
For some reason critics appear to be divided into two camps: The first being those who believe Uada are a clone of fellow black-metallers Mgla, and the second – everyone else. I don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I heard Uada’s first two albums DEVOID OF LIGHT and CULT OF A DYING SUN prior to hearing Mgla’s stuff, but I’m firmly in the second camp. Both are great bands, and I’d say check out the video for “Cult of a Dying Sun” and decide for yourself.
One thing that stands out immediately about DJINN is the production. All of the instruments and vocals can be clearly heard, and that’s something that isn’t easy to do with this style of metal. I’m not a musician, but it sounds like the bass is downtuned a bit compared to the guitars – and the contrasting tones work very well together.
Uada are great at using tempo changes and different ‘moods’ to break their songs up, as evidenced on “Between Two Worlds” and “In the Absence of Matter”. This time around the brutal, guttural lows and howling highs from vocalist Jake Superchi are less prominent (which won’t help with the Mgla comparisons) but he sounds awesome nevertheless.
“No Place Here” is an interesting track. Around 10 minutes there is a spoken word passage that sounds like it was taken from an old sci-fi movie. Following that is a lengthy, scathing narrative on the insatiable greed and hopeless disillusionment of humanity, a sort of final stamp of the song’s message. Though it’s not something you can really sing along with, it’s well-written and thought-provoking (see the link for the lyric video below). The end result is basically a 10 minute song that grows to almost 14 minutes, so for some it may take a multiple listens to get into.
Overall this is a great effort. I hear a band that has matured and are honing their own style and sound. I personally don’t think they resemble Mgla at all, so don’t let that stop you from picking this one up.