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After a sneak preview to their old school Norwegian-inspired brand of black metal with their 2011 demo, Turkish black metal duo The Upheaval returns this year with their debut full length release, Failure of Humanity.
The Norwegian overtones are rather obvious right from the start, and the opening riffs of To Eat the God’s Breed quickly reminds one of classics such as De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, in the riffing style (which brings to mind songs like Freezing Moon and Funeral Fog), the progression of the melodies on the track and the cold and bleak atmosphere that is quickly conjured. Damnare’s harsh, shrieky vocals fit that desolate backdrop extremely well as well, and his tortured style of lyrical delivery easily remind one of other Norwegian greats such as Tsjuder and Gorgoroth as well, further displaying the amount of impact early second wave of black metal has had on The Upheaval‘s songwriting. Instrumentation such as clean guitars are also effectively used such as on the intro of Rebirth as a Sinner to reinforce the atmospheric aspects of the music. The slight thrash influences that the band has included on their songwriting also reeks of Norwegian influence, with the black-n-roll stylistics that the band engages in throughout the album bringing about comparisons to Urgehal and Endezzma, which is certainly a good thing.
But not all is Norwegian-sounding over here though, as the more aggressive and heavier moments on the album like on No Flags! No Armies! No Borders! bring about some slight Swedish comparisons, especially to later Marduk material. And on moments such as these, Damnare’s gruff growl even somewhat reminds one of Mortuus’ harsh and tortured style.
Unfortunately, there are moments where the album falters slightly. Though this is a nice tribute to Norwegian extremity, some of the tracks lack impact, and this especially so on the rather slow and unmemorable album closer Failure of Humanity, leaving very little impression on the listener even after numerous listens.