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Upamsu > Upamsu > Reviews
Upamsu - Upamsu

Dark dissonant BM with a clear sound and desperate vocals - 75%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, November 24th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2021, Digital, Independent

After hearing several debut demos from Indonesian lo-fi raw BM acts, I'm still game enough to hear another one, especially this self-titled demo from Upamsu which is actually very different from all the others I've heard. Compared to other acts I've come across (Forbidden Tomb, Mantahungal, Nansarunai among others), Upamsu actually have a fairly clean sound, bristly around the edges with guitar riffs featuring a bell-like tone. The singing is also very different: clear-toned in its howling and filled with as much anguish and pain as it is with anger while operating in a dark cavern-like space removed some distance from our physical dimension. The music is aggressive and robust yet melodic, with enough cloudy atmosphere giving it shadowy sinister depth and at the same time allowing most instruments and the vocals to be heard distinctly.

Just three fairly short tracks, simply numbered I to III, are on offer on the demo but they pack in a lot of intense emotion from anger to melancholy, and in their riffing, pace and style are different from one another. Track I hurls itself at you with a rapid-fire battery of dense repeating tremolo riffs, pounding drums and crashing cymbals. The vocals, covered in reverb (but not too much so) rant and moan and sob over and slightly behind the music in a distant black prison space. Apart from a middle section where the three Upamsu musicians go for broke shredding and bashing their instruments the track tends to be simple in structure, relying on repeating riffs. Track II takes its cue from a lively folk-like guitar melody, reminiscent of some past French BM bands (Vlad Tepes comes to mind), and the track keeps rolling from there while the vocals continue with their inconsolable complaining. Again after the halfway mark, the music breaks into outbursts of noisy shredding and percussion thunder aggression, though the guitars still have a dark jangly dissonant tone. An added bonus is an eerie ambient passage with a sample of a crazed preacher's sermon.

The closing track has a more depressive suicidal edge early on and has its moments where it seems to reach a crossroads and something dreadful is about to happen. There may be detours and switches going on with the pace and mood changing throughout but the dark mood and periodic repetition hold the track together. The music's energy and the mix of powerful emotions ranging from rage to despair and hopelessness in the vocals help make this track a truly epic one.

With the focus being on the vocals and the emotions they express, the song-writing tends towards simple and straightforward, giving vent to the musicians' energy and passion. There is enough melody to channel that energy and emotion in the songs (especially the second song) and allow that intensity to be released in outbursts of anger and sorrow. The deep dark atmosphere given life by dissonant jangly guitar chords and the reverb on the singing can be terrifying. Of the three tracks on offer, Track II with that deranged preaching sample and strong solo guitar melodies is far and away the best.

I'm really curious now as to what Upamsu can come up with on a full-length album, whether the trio can sustain all that anger and desperation in the plaintive vocals and the black depths revealed by their music over several songs. Upamsu's style is well balanced between noise, grit and a clear but dark, even threatening sound. There's definitely a lot of creative promise from this trio.