As much as I’d like to herald US black metal band, UADA’s debut, “Devoid of Light” as in the running for 2016’s album of the year, to do so goes against my better judgement as this album is an obvious copy of MGLA’s “Exercises in Futillity”. Following the footsteps of so many Dissection copy cats, however, UADA delivers, despite their plagiarism.
There are moments on “Devoid of Light” that are absolutely hypnotizing. UADA immediately assaults listeners with repetitive tri-notes and dissonant atmosphere in the first riffs of the album. It’s black metal 101, sure to be a crowd pleaser. Still, I’ve noticed black metal is moving in a strangely palatable direction, where intensity is anticipated at certain intervals. Slow melodic breaks, and even rock and roll riffs are peppered throughout the mix as if to ease one into the intensity to come. It’s a far cry from the panzer attack of the earlier, genre defining, Norwegian bands. Still, Norway’s been a sad old hat as of late, and I have come to enjoy the recent spectral aura of some modern black metal bands, despite the palatability.
“Devoid of Light” is a five song journey through the subconscious. Emotion inducing dissonant repetitiveness is the highlight of this album still, UADA throws in surprising progressions, leaving listeners excited throughout the album. Initially, it was the title track that caught my attention. Alternating between piercing melody, crude slow licks, and utter blitzkrieg, Deviod of Light’s title track, is highly memorable. After listening to the album in its entirety, however, I’d have to say track three, entitled S.N.M. is my favorite. The shrill, tortured howls, cyclical guitar tracks, and primitive breaks bring me back to Filosofem era Burzum.
The final track on “Devoid of Light”, “Black Autumn White Spring”, is one of those songs you need to be patient for. The song’s intro is intense initially, only to be followed by four minutes of slow and boring filler until an Iron Maiden like break once again leads you into intensity. The solo at the end is probably the best on the album; utterly captivating. So while this album is somewhat unoriginal, it delivers a hearty dose of the same old same old played to near perfection.