It was an unexpected turn of events to find that a darkly aggressive outfit such as Uada had chosen to open their third album with a tune that positively sparkles. Mixing in a healthy amount of Maiden-esque, fists-in-the-air stadium metal with, dare I say, the boppy edges of pop punk could be akin to this band shredding their hoods to bits and sitting in a convertible on Hollywood Boulevard wearing muscle vests. However, the gnashing bite of the vocals soon interject and remind us that this is most definitely a black metal of sorts that we are dealing with here.
This is far more melodic and far more traditionally ‘heavy metal’ than Uada have ever ventured before. Black metal, being such a blank canvas, welcomes that – but it is a very fine line between pushing the genre to its defiant limits and pushing the genre straight out of the window.
There is so much here. I can sense a blackening akin to Machine Head’s seminal album in second track ‘The Great Mirage’, and a folk metal swing on ‘In The Absence of Matter’ that would not be out of place on an Ensiferum release. There are moments of complexity and, yet more, that are straight from the songbook of 1981. Almost thankfully, the final two tracks return to the obliterating barrage that has become synonymous with this band.
I do appreciate being made to think and I do ‘get’ what this band are doing here. They have used the vocal delivery as the flag pole of the extreme sound and then ingeniously embedded it whatever grounds they fancy. This will be a divisive record for sure but it does leave you asking why a band who had created such a ferocious animal needed to experiment quite so adventurously.
Of course, and it’s been known before, maybe it is me that is wrong. As bands of this exceptional quality develop, they cannot stay underground forever and, with that, the eternal dilemma presents itself. What starts as a grimy, personal expression of abject misery becomes a global celebration of this glorious genre -and, if we’re honest, that ‘reach’ is something that all musicians will strive for. To get your message heard, you need to speak a thousand languages so, on ‘Djinn’, Uada have successfully translated their wares into a myriad of tongues.