Review by Fernando on August 24, 2023.
Uada are back! These Cascadian ghouls have managed to truly make themselves known in the world of black metal, both with their soaring style of melodic black metal and relentless touring cycles. However it’s not being a bed of roses for them, aside from constantly being compared to Mgła, to the point it's now a meme, a rotating lineup and some unfortunate circumstances regarding the departure of their lead guitarist and second longest member James Sloan. It seems as the band has had as much triumphs as pitfalls since their inception back in 2014. But, in spite of those trials and tribulations, their music has been consistently good and ascending in quality, and now, in 2023, the band will unveil their fourth dimension Crepuscule Natura, through the always reliable Eisenwald.
As mentioned above, Uada has had a steady and ongoing development to their sound, they obviously play melodic black metal inspired by the Swedish greats such as Dissection, Vinterland and Unanimated, but with each album they’ve added something new. Their last album was by far their most adventurous, being their longest and most eclectic, a lot of people, like myself really enjoyed that, others not so much, so I was looking forward to whatever they did next, and unsurprisingly the band made another shift, keeping the more unorthodox leanings of their previous record, but bringing back the darkness and atmosphere of their first two records. From the get-go with opener ‘The Abyss Gazing Back’ sets the mood with the sounds of a black hole, and then jumping into epic riffing and frontman and founder Jake Superchi’s grunt.
In comparison to their previous records, this is the band’s most concise and refined work yet, while displaying all their strengths, and not just with melody and speed, but also with atmosphere and more technical musicality. Not to mention that the band really honed in their trad metal guitar work and punkish influences. While I really liked how their previous record Djinn turned out, it does feel like their most self-indulgent, and while some of those indulgences are still present here, like I said, they’re much more refined and as such, the end result is much more impactful whilst still remaining ambitious.
Though it should be mentioned that, and the band themselves admitted to this, the album was labored over due to them not being happy with their first attempt back in 2022, as such, the album sounds perfected and trimmed. I don’t personally subscribe to the idea that artists must suffer to make good art, but to me this is a case where Uada where able to make a great record in spite of whatever hardships they’ve had to deal with inside and outside the studio and on the road. And on that note, the band taking their time crafting Crepuscule Natura is shown in their performances, the guitarwork has always been one of Uada’s highlights, the dueling melodies and soaring solos, alongside dark and furious riffing, is all present here, and the band perfectly balance their black metal riffage with classic and powerful heavy metal.
The album sounds truly epic in scope and obscure in essence and the guitars exemplify that balance, being triumphant and soaring and sinister and relentless at the drop of a dime and it’s seamless. The bass work is also the best the band has had, Nate Verschoor really got to shine on this record after being a welcomed addition on Djinn. His bass work not only matches the guitars, but he also gets moments to flex such as the opening of second single ‘The Dark (Winter)’, and the drumming of new member Josh Lovejoy manages to be on par with previous drummers. It’s crazy how this band has had a different drummer for each album and yet the drumming is always impressive in each album. And of course, Jake Superchi also gets to display his impressive vocal chops, from growling, to howling, to even throat singing and shrieking, the man is an impressive vocalist, being able to do so much with his voice and without ever sounding out of place for each song.
Another big improvement is the production, Uada has never had raw or gritty production, but one thing I had some qualms about their previous record was the mixing, which sounded very imbalanced with the guitars and drumming overpowering everything else. This isn’t the case for Crepuscule Natura, this is their best produced, arranged and mixed album so far, as every instrument has room to breath and nothing is overshadowed or overexposed. My only real critique of this record is that I wish it was a bit longer, and was left wanting more, but that’s a good problem to have, the band really pulled out making a great record that I wish would never end, because everything else is so good.
All in all, Uada have definitely earned and deserve the recognition they’ve gotten, and since they now have a four album streak, here’s hoping they can still deliver quality melodic black metal that hits as hard as Crepuscule Natura did.
Best tracks: 'The Abyss Gazing Back', 'The Dark (Winter)', 'Through The Wax And Through The Wane'
Rating: 10 out of 101.74k