Uada is based in Portland and got its "big break" of sorts after their fledgling performances at 2015's Famine Fest annd Northwestern Black Circle Fest went down a storm, but you'd be a fool to force any kind of "Cascadian black metal" peg on them.
Rather, Uada's approach is all about the rawness and melody of the Swedish classics. Dissection in summa and Dawn's Slaughtersun are the touchpoints here (especially the latter), with shades of Weakling (and by extension, Ash Borer) providing the only detectable American influences. Standout track "Our Pale Departure" also brings their obscured melodic death metal inclinations to the forefront, especially when vocalist Jake Superchi's roar takes on an uncanny Mikael Åkerfeldt-ish quality. Devoid of Light's cold snap is a welcome reprieve from the legions of muddled black/death currently polluting the collective extreme metal conscious (for better and for worse), and a nostalgic blast from a past that many of us wish we'd been able to witness first-hand.
I've got to take note of their band photos, too; whereas most bands are content to shuffle over in front of a wall and take a few blurry snaps, Uada's pulled out the visual big guns here. At this point, it's a badge of honor for a black metal band to score a photo shoot with Peter Beste, and he obviously saw something special in this one. As is his wont, Beste managed to capture the band's vibe in a way that few music photographers are able, and the resulting images were too arresting for me to choose just one for this post.
Armed with an appropriately buzzy mastering job by Toxic Holocaust’s Joel Grind, Devoid of Light comes out April 8 via Eisenwald Records—just in time to coincide with the band's return to the Northwestern Black Circle Festival. If you're not lucky enough to be seeing them alongside Absu and Christian Mistress this weekend, console yourself with this early listen to the album itself.
If you like what you hear, be sure to catch Uada on their upcoming tour with Witchaven and Brooklyn's own Imperial Triumphant; the short West Coast run will kick off at the aforementioned Northwestern Black Circle shindig, and take the trio down to the City of Angels.
Kim Kelly is dead as dreams on Twitter.