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Solace in Emaciation - 75%

torchia, October 28th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, Cassette, Vrasubatlat (Limited edition)

The primitive black metal formula seems simple, yet many contemporary bands are either dismissed as mere clones of the genre's progenitors, as pretenders to an ancient throne, or criticised for too-obviously-intentional rawness and heavy handed lo-fi worship.

Conversely, there exists acts such as Uškumgallu. This Oregan-based two-piece have obviously studied diligently, producing nostalgia-soaked black metal with an undeniably chilling quality that is mercifully void of any trappings that would see proceedings descend into parody.

Uškumgallu's first self-titled offering, released via shadowy black/death/noise conspirators, Vrasubatlat, is a three-track, thoroughly impetuous declaration of singular design. Opening with a mid-tempo, rollicking section, which repeats in-between more aggressive (and more effective) blasted moments, Uškumgallu employ the best of black metal's ability to be both pugnacious and hauntingly memorable, sounding similar to Clandestine Blaze at times.

The demo's incursion truly amps from the second track, "Dolor", while an impressive and near impeccable vocal delivery adds an almost tangible eeriness, oozing atmosphere and creating an audible despair and anguish. The band's repetitious but potent riff structures are endlessly apt, shot through with hypnotic and melancholic qualities that speak of a definite harmonious know-how.

Presented as the release's final offering, "Solace in Emaciation" is a dirge driven, weighty slab of black metal, dripping with a molasses-like phonic venom. Uškumgallu's self-titled proposal nestles comfortably next to the other disseminations from the Vrasubatlat coven to date, and though some acts are sharing members, there is a veritable sense of distinctive identities and accompanying auras, all of which works to promise some truly shattering black and death metal in the near future.