A review by The Buried Herald
🕯️ Traversing the barren landscape 🕯️
When listening to the new album by Udyat, desolated landscapes and clouds of ash immediately form in front of my eyes. The somber yet punishing atmosphere prevalent in Oro affects the mind and summons contrasting emotions that answer to nothing but the Riff itself. Practicing the art of heavy, this record offers lengthy pilgrimages, haunting Spanish vocals and a lethal dose of doom. And off we go…
Split into 5 songs of which all but the opener span over at least 13 minutes, Oro seems to be a journey in itself. Slowly developing over time, the tracks are characterized by that they shift and warp while maintaining their core theme throughout the whole length. Los picos de luz eterna for instance, evokes this strong sense of melancholia for the first few minutes as the instruments all sound rather blissful and the tempo is relaxed. Yet it doesn’t take long for the distorted guitar to kick in and bring the track to some gloomy dimensions. Despite this rather sharp turn, Udyat maintain a strong connection to the mood from before which helps to tie a knot between the light and darkness that are both present here.
Sangre de oro on the other hand, directly kicks off with some maddening screams and slow, heavy drum pounding. Then some equally sluggish guitar chords join the chant only to gain momentum and mutate into a full-blown riff that is swiftly supported by both drum and bass. This song lasts for over 13 minutes thus provides room for gradual developments, guitar solos and just enough time to immerse into its hypnotic character. The guitar is the leading force in this track and occasionally even strongly reminds me of how Black Pyramid build up their riffs. And while the wailing vocals here don’t convince me, they still somehow add this extra layer of dread that soaks the music.
Moving onto Los últimos, we get yet another song that opens gently and is now enhanced by some rather peaceful tones of Juan’s voice. Interestingly enough, the song feels like a blend between the previous two. There is again some delayed guitar in the beginning and a breaking point somewhere in the middle where things turn heavy, slow and brutal. The screams return as well and so the monotonous riff worship begins anew. Yet towards the end the tempo is catching some fire as the guitar develops a psychedelic twist with drums and vocals fitting exceptionally well. In a matter of seconds, this blaze is extinguished and everything turns silent again.
Después de los pasos, el camino muere is another example of a barren sonic landscape where danger lurks in the shadows and life seems to be long gone. What’s more, Udyat again forms an intricate atmosphere that drags the listener deeper and deeper with each passing minute. Yet it is the most diverse and rich of all tracks from Oro as it holds quite some action and has a sense direction that is easy to follow. Securing the end is Nacimiento that literally translates to ‘birth’. Whatever came to life here, it by no means has good intentions. Udyat retracts to brute force for the last time and obliterates the instruments being accompanied by shouts of some painful nature. And while I sincerely love how the riffs sometimes begin to tower over the rest while raising fire and fear, I wish that the band was more consistent with how these moments are tied together into one seamless sequence not only at the end but on the whole scale of the album.
The recent effort by the Argentinian Udyat is a fine take on hypnotic doom as they prove to be capable of crafting and exploring lengthy sonic passages. And while at times the tracks seem too alike in terms of composition, instrumental work or vocal lines, there is still enough diversity to lose yourself to the whole of the album and appreciate the hidden details that make it stand out. It is spacious, emotional and drenched in this malevolence that will definitely appeal to those seeking some unholy sonic refuge. Add to that a great master and an album cover that messes with the mind, and you get an album as solid as it is open to interpretation. Turn off your light and let Oro guide you through the darkness!
🕯️ 🕯️ 🕯️
Thanks for the read and be sure to listen to Oro and support the band!