Uzziel are a new one on me, being an underground thrash band from Austria. This Fear follows on from their previous release, Torn Apart, which came out a whopping five years ago. Now I can’t compare the two, but I can tell you what I think of this new release.
First off, I’d not really class it as thrash. It’s too slow and heavy. Maybe they used to blast along, but now they get your head nodding rather than banging. Lyrics are harsh and growled, guitars nice and crunchy and the rhythm section is tight as it should be… but it’s definitely more a “metal” sound than a thrash one. Not that I’m saying this is a bad thing! Not by any means, and though we do often complain about trying to pigeon hole bands (or actively avoid it), it’s good to have an idea of what you’re about to listen to.
Anyway, after a nice light-hearted carnival opener we’re hit by some John Carpenter-inspired twiddly guitar in the intro to “Acid Rain”. This flows into a more crushing track which really introduces the band well. Layered vocals with harmonies below the growled leads really work and though the overall rhythm is quite a plodding one, the song itself flies by. The mini-breakdown halfway through really warrants a waist-deep headbang and the twin guitars play well off each other.
Uzziel keep up this standard throughout with some tracks being really good. “Dark Moment” which comes up next has about the most abrasive intro on the album, but again settles back into a more mainstream metal vibe once it gets going. “Fading” has a great upbeat tone to it and the vocals come across as more of a rhythmical tool at points rather than just being words. It’s a clever technique and lets the focus fall on what would usually be the backing vocals. A rocking solo as well which, bizarrely, is more likely to get your hips shaking than your neck cracking!
“Dead End Evolution” is about the closest thing to a thrash song throughout, and it’s a great addition. Just one listen will have you picturing circle pits.
I’ll be honest, when I had This Fear playing in the background to familiarise myself with it I wasn’t hugely impressed. Musically it was OK, but nothing really caught my ear. Once I stopped and paid more attention, though… things jumped out. It’s an album which does deserve, perhaps needs, to be actually listened to rather than just popped on while you’re doing something else. Either that or it’s one of music’s “growers” and it’s taken a few listens for it to settle. Whichever, I can’t fault the musicianship or the production.
Worth seeking out.
This Fear is out now