Friday, May 29, 2015

Uzziel-Torn Apart

Dr. Music Records

Hailing from Micheldorf, Upper Austria, Uzziel is a traditional heavy metal/melodic thrash quartet with "Torn Apart" serving as the band's latest recording. The group is fronted by bassist Mex (Mortuary (Aut), ex-Legacy, ex-Morbid Breed) and according to the band's Facebook bio the word Uzziel comes from the Torah and it supposedly means "El is my strength or God is my strength". Guitarists Francis & Hati and drummer Tom round things out in Uzziel and this 14-track album is actually the band's sophomore release as it follows a 2011 demo entitled "Broken". Whether it's worth mentioning is open to debate, but "Torn Apart"  was originally issued in digital form back in October of 2014 by Darkspace Music. Thanks to Dr. Music Records it will now be seeing a physical release sometime this summer which should please fan's of the band. "How about the rest of us?" I hear you asking. As it turns out, "Torn Apart" is a good times/bad times kind of release. Where should we start? How about we touch on this album's ills and then we'll say a word or two about what works. As it's Friday I'll keep it light and simple especially as I know you all have places to go and people to see! The bad news about "Torn Apart" would be lead singer Mex (aka Markus Pilz). I feel as if I should preface this by saying when it comes to Mex's voice it would work on any other day. Or rather in a different version of this band. While the music is nice mash-up of classic heavy metal and melodic thrash (with cool little sprinklings of hard rock, groove metal and hardcore punk) Mex's voice is extremely harsh and sadly it's even a bit monotonous. If he was fronting a more crossover-leaning version of Uzziel I could see his aggressive mic work serving as a positive. Seeing as the band's album falls closer to heavy metal than hardcore it doesn't. And in a way that moves us to the positive aspects of "Torn Apart". Even at it's hardest and heaviest the music found within "Torn Apart" is melodic. There's also some clever guitar work to be found on "Torn Apart" and while none of this is mind-blowing, Uzziel's sophomore release shows actual promise. In the end Mex's voice really works against that promise, but I suppose it is possible that people could enjoy this while simultaneously tuning out the vocals? So what does it all mean? What's the final verdict? Well, If I was to grade it, "Torn Apart" would get a C+ as it's got good stuff going on even if it's nowhere near a must-add kind of album.

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