Thursday, 1 August 2013

Uvikra - Bi


Uvikra is a one man black/death metal project from Vilnius, Lithuania. You might think that opening sentence is too the point but how many other metal bands/projects do you know that come from Lithuania? Uvikra began in 2009. Spearheaded by multi-instrumentalist Loikav, Uvikra released a debut full-length on tape via Depressive Illusions Records, followed by a CDr re-release by Cvlminis. Both pressings were very limited, as you'd expect. A year later, Patterns of Life was released as a free Internet release, via Uvikra's bandcamp page. Bi, Loikav's second full-length originally saw the light of day in 2011, before being pressed on CD earlier this year by extreme label BadGod Records. Bi is five tracks and thirty two minutes of progressive black/death metal.

Tracklist:-

1. For A Ride
2. Weak Hands
3. Sentimental Victory
4. Leads In Letters
5. Questions of Joy

Scratch the surface of your chosen genre and you're bound to find a number of one-man bands. They spring up because their members want to keep creative control or because they want to release music that they can't in their other bands. Uvikra is probably the former of the two.

After a leisurely intro of plucked guitar and calm drumming, which seems otherworldly at times, For A Ride's black metal influence makes themselves properly heard. The vocals are whispered, nestling within the mix. The guitar provides the melody while the drums keep an off-kilter rhythm punctuated by crashing cymbals.

It's raw and sounds self-recorded, which a lot of one-man projects are. Bi has a great avant-garde jazz feel to it, mainly in the guitars, which play melodies that you wouldn't normally associate with black metal. Also, long instrumental passages are used to build atmosphere and add texture to the record. Second track Weak Hands is a prime example, as the instruments dominate the sound and sometimes create a jarring and unnerving soundclash, which doesn't sound out of place.

Sentimental Victory switches things round a bit, by kicking off with some fast metal, before settling down again and becoming more progressive. There's no doubt that this record will be an acquired taste, but for those that enjoy their music with more leftfield flair, then they should find plenty to like. Talking of leftfield, mid-way through the song there's actual singing! Leads In Letters is a more straightforward BM song, hence the shorter running time. It's still got its strange melodic textures, but they have more of an upbeat tempo this time. The drums begin to really pulsate as well, before the sound level drops off to reveal more improvisational music. This track is sans vocals, so acts as an instrumental for the most part. It's flows straight into closing piece, Question of Joy.

As I listen to it, it strikes me that this record and indeed Uvikra will probably be massively under appreciated. I mean, bands come and go, sometimes without any fanfare at all. They're normally the ones that are the best too. Uvikra though is very much alive and getting a push toward bigger audiences thanks to BadGod Records. If you're not frightened of music that's bewildering and out of most people's comfort zones, then this is for you. Avant-garde jazz filled black/death metal that's simple yet effective.

I'm lucky enough to be streaming middle track "Sentimental Victory" on my bandcamp page. Help support Uvikra, by checking the song out here:-



You can also listen to the record in full here - http://badgodmusic.bandcamp.com/album/bi.

It's available as a name-your-price download from BadGod Music and you can also buy it on CD from the above bandcamp link.

Uvikra Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Uvikra
BadGod Music Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/badgodmusic

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