Label: Blackened Death Records
After a series of EPs, demos and split releases, Uncanny Reality have unleashed their first full-length in the form of Plague Of Ignorance. Whereas previous releases have wallowed in dark, murky black metal territories somewhere between Leviathan and DSBM, Plague Of Ignorance is a much more ambitious release. There’s much less reliance on repetition and atmosphere, with stronger riffs and more memorable song-writing, as well as an added sense of muscularity that sees the music verge upon blackened death metal at points. Though there’s still a few rough edges, these help to give the album extra charm and character, making Plague Of Ignorance a much heavier, more punishing listen than I expected.
It doesn’t take long for the album to demonstrate this more overtly vicious nature. Introductory track “The March” is a mood setter, with sampled criticisms of Christianity and religion giving way to a high-tempo riff and drumming, that then moves in to a mid-tempo DSBM section. The samples return as the tension builds, added to by the subtle use of keys, making it clear from the off that Plague Of Ignorance will not be an easy listen. Some DSBM records can end up being cathartic, almost comforting in their melodic riffs and hypnotic movements. This is not one of them.
Any doubts about Uncanny Reality’s change of direction and emphasis should be removed by the time the vocals kick in on second track “Bury The Saints”. Lightning-fast guitar movements shift in and out, backed up by pounding drums and topped off with vicious, snarled, almost indecipherable vocals. The almost inhuman vocals of Immørdæk are one of Uncanny Reality’s strongest points, and it’s great to hear them being used to full effect here, their usual teeth-bared nature being complimented by deeper growls and even some croaks. There’s even moments where the guitar leads soar and are absolutely stunning, as during “Cheated Death” and “Religious Corruption”. Combined with the much stronger riffs and song structures throughout the album, it makes Plague of Ignorance the best Uncanny Reality release thus far by quite some distance.
There are still moments where repetition and hypnotic atmosphere is key, though. “Forever Rot In Hell” is built upon the kind of simple, ultra-heavy riff that doesn’t really belong to any one subgenre of metal, but when repeated over and over, is sure to result in captivation. “Modern Warfare” tries a similar trick at points without the same level of success, though the piano-led section towards the end and guitar melody during the last minute are ominous delights.
The raw, almost demo-like production serves the album well, giving it a murkiness that is challenging but not impenetrable, and it’s clear that a lot of work has gone in to the writing and construction of these songs. There are still a few rough edges though, and as much as they help add character to the album, they suggest that better may yet be to come from Uncanny Reality in the future. As it is though, Plague Of Ignorance is a dark, unexpectedly heavy piece of bleak black metal.
Plague Of Ignorance is set for release on 7th September 2016 through Blackened Death Records.