UZALA - Self Titled LP
Label: At War With False Noise / Witch Sermon
Genre: Sludge / Doom
For those of you just catching up to the underground, 2011 was the year of the woman in Doom where female fronted bands dominated. If you need a quick refresher course then check out the 2011 releases by bands like WOODEN STAKE, BLOOD CEREMONY, WINDHAND and CASTLE just to name a few. Now that it's a new year lets meet the second tier squad. UZALA are a four piece act outta Boise, Idaho although I've also read in a promo that Portland, Oregon was their home as well. Obviously Portland sounds more hip than Boise but I believe their bassist, Nick Phit, is from Portland and use to play with ATRIARCH. Now even though vocal duties are said to be shared between Chad Remains and Darcy Nutt, as well as guitar, it's Darcy who takes on the majority of the vocal fronting. As far as her singing goes she's comparable to Jex Thoth in that they both emote a haunting, airy style which doesn't standout over the heavy handed riffs which probably drown her out live.
As far as the band sounds musically, this release is a collection of sludgey doom rehash like a pencil that's been worn down to the nub. Actually calling this second tier might be generous since the whole atmosphere being portrayed is moldy with age. You've got your slowly played (for the most part) fuzzy riffs with the prescribed hint of SABBATH / SAINT VITUS worship. The drumming is simplistic and set far back in the mix to the point where you forget about the poor guy. If anything stands out it's Nick Phit's bass work which keeps things going on here. The shortest cut on here, "Fracture", sung by Chad Remains is about the only exciting part of this release. The rest of this is basically more of the same old wanna be shrouded in occult, but really it's dust, sludge which is boring. If there was one redeeming quality to this band's debut I'd say at least they borrow influences from the best of the past practitioners. Therefore you should be listening to those records and give this to someone who is just new to the genre and slow in the head.