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A unique electronic atmospheric black metal album - 87%

TheAbyssalArchivist, June 9th, 2017

Progenie Terrestre Pura is an interesting band. Hailing from Italy, they take a relatively popular subgenre, that being atmospheric black metal, and inject it with some very creative new elements such as electronic music, ambience, and progressive rock. In preparation for their new sophomore release oltreLuna, I'm going to review the debut album now.

Production-wise, U.M.A. is far from the typical raw atmos black metal sound. It's not excessively clean by any means whatsoever, but it is clean enough to create a futuristic, spacey feel that takes advantage of synth and effects throughout. Psychedelia is pretty key here, and the backing ambient stuff serves almost as its own band at times, creating a gorgeous atmosphere of a serene, otherworldly utopia in the cosmos. The guitar tone isn't even all that black metal-ey, having more of a melodic side to it and only a little bit of tremolo picking, though we do get some in the final track "Sinapsi Divelte". There's definitely a bit of a crunch to the guitars. The melodies are both serene and tumultuous, epic in a rather unique fashion that evokes such wonderful imagery.

The vocals are especially interesting. Black metal screams are dominant, but they're rather different from the shrieks one would expect. There's a bit of a machine sound, otherworldly and alien. It's like if Shagrath screwed a starship computer. There's a bit of clean vocals, mainly on the tracks "Sovrarobotizzazione" and "Sinapsi Divelte", taking the form of very robotic droning, but done quite tastefully.

I think my only legitimate complaint about this album is that the drumming, while great, isn't really all that special. We don't have the chaotic yet still coordinated fills of Austin Lunn or the fluid transitions of Aaron Weaver. But what we do have is nothing bad whatsoever.

Backing ambience/synths are no stranger in black metal, but here they take up a whole new level of ambition. The electronics help add to the exploratory atmosphere and create a vision of strange worlds and locations. Little glitches throughout the music and eerie synth minimalism could be their own album at times, and the third track "La terra rossa di Marte" is in fact seven whole minutes of pure electronic (occasionally verging on house music) glory.

This is incredible stuff. It truly has a unique atmosphere beyond the nature-loving of many atmospheric black metal bands, and no shame to them at all. Spacey black metal really has a future in store and hopefully Progenie Terrestre Pura will be a part of that future. I highly recommend listening to this album while playing a game, obviously one with some sort of space theme. I recommend Stellaris for this the most. It fits so damn well!

Refreshing and Unique - 99%

S_Stormhammer, February 26th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2013, CD, Avantgarde Music (Limited edition, Digipak)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Applying that logic to this release [titled U.M.A.] I find myself agape and struggling to find the proper words to describe it. Symphonic and progressive black metal wrapped around concepts of space travel, technology, and exploration; gods, just thinking of that style just gives me goosebumps. And let me tell you, a thousand words is simply not enough to describe the epic awesomeness of this album.

It starts off so serene and symphonic, yet when I did some research on this band, I was eager to glean the treasures they had to offer. The first track, entitled "Progenie Terrestre Pura" leads in gently from the get-go, with some really smooth and layered synth samples, and before you get yourself lost in it, the guitars lash outward! The ambiance is a perfect opener, leading the listener on an epic journey through space to unknown, distant stars in search of ultimate truth. I think my favorite part of this track was the solo. It's just so . . . unique. It takes away nothing from the overall immersion and ambiance, but instead amplifies it like their spacecraft just hit warp and they're traveling through a goddamned wormhole or something! But again, I've always been something of a sci-fi / space tech nerd, so maybe it's just my own views on it.

The longest track on the album was "Sovrarobotizzazione", clocking in at 13 minutes exactly. Much like its predecessor, it too is hypnotically ambient, something I could see playing video games to, like Megaman or Mass Effect, some game with a space theme or tech theme at least! But, unlike the first track, Sovrarobotizzazione adds something new to the mix: ambient brutality. A contradictory term on first glance, I know, but that's the best way to describe it! The guitars go from hyper ambient to crunchy, and it isn't a bad thing. Granted, if you're not prepared for it, it'll blindside you and take some of the ambience away, but from my perspective, it adds a new and interesting "flavor" to this already good song.

I think my favorite track was the fourth one, called "Droni". Not to say that any of the other tracks were inferior, but this one was different in a way that isn't easy to describe. Where the others were hypnotic and entrancing, this one was stark and gritty. It also maintained the same overall style and flow of the others, but it just reminded me more of the grotesqueness of technology, whereas all the others reminded me of how powerful and elegant and streamlined technology is. This one reeked of rust, decay, ash, and grinding gears. The bowels of a spacecraft, if you will.

All in all, this album is powerhouse. It is something I could see me recommending even to the pickiest listener. I could recommend it to people who hate metal and see them coming around to loving it and metal overall, be it black metal, space metal progressive metal, or anything in between It's a pity these guys from Italy don't have much more to their discography, because I would hunt these albums down to the ends of this planet and others, should it allow me the privilege of owning more glorious masterpieces such as this.

Noteworthy Tracks: Progenie Terrestre Pura, La Terra Rossa Di Marte, Droni

Progenie Terrestre Pura- U.M.A. - 65%

stenchofishtar, December 17th, 2013

Progenie Terrestre Pura are an Italian two-piece that take on a black metal framework and whose themes, like Swiss band Darkspace, take on a heavy science fiction concept.

As opposed to a lo-fi, cavernous aesthetic, PTP’s sound is a thoroughly polished and digital production that rare for its style succeeds in creating a desired atmosphere rather than quelling it. The black metal influence is often prevalent throughout and is often used as a narrative by which the vocals can find convenient space.

A Norse-style sense of technique is present at times in guitar playing, though it is often saccharine, and not unlike Agalloch pertains to post-rock, tremolo picked and shrouded in a vortex of metallic percussion that often helps to make the music appear more externally aggressive. Riffs occasionally rely on heavy punctuated, palm muted power chord strums amidst syncopated, mechanized drum machine. It’s hard not to think of the Norwegian band Red Harvest, albeit treading a less ‘dystopian’ ground.

Vocals are also of the black metal technique, well done, and suitable to the aesthetic uses a sufficient amount of echo, pitch-shifter and vocoder, the result being similar to tracks such as ‘Dead Inside’ from Beherit’s ‘Electric Doom Synthesis’ album.

There is a strong emphasis on electronics and synthesisers. Rather organic, the ethereal textures and soundscapes of Jean Michel Jarre are brought to mind. Interweaving the more aggressive sectors of each composition the more subtle areas of ‘U.M.A.’ are interspersed with textural guitar playing that is like 70′s Pink Floyd but sans the blues influence.

This combination of ideas makes for an interesting listen, but barely digs beneath the surface. Whilst there is no lack of atmosphere and immersion here, the meandering nature of songs leaves the album lacking in a sense of punch and counterpoint which one feels should be present. Those who aren’t overly contemplative of finding anything deeper beyond the stylistic and like something on the basis that it is different may enjoy this, but in terms of substance it falls short of what could otherwise be promising work.