Album: Spoken in Tongues
Label: Vargheist Records
Genre: Death Metal
Country: United States of America
Release Date: July 15th, 2019
The second of re-releases out in July through Vargheist Records is the only of the albums that was previously familiar. Uzumaki appeared on my radar with their fifth full-length and seventh release overall; Spoken in Tongues served as my far too short introduction to this bizarre, dissonant, and twisted take on Death Metal. After hearing how technical and avant-garde the music contained within was, it was quite baffling to find that the man behind it all was involved in so many different and active projects. Here named Jjarnd Msdiun, elsewhere known as Jared Cave Moran, this multi-instrumentalist and (one must assume) heavy caffeine enthusiast handles everything you hear on this album.
This is a dense, dissonant, dizzying, and difficult listen, that doesn’t unfold itself completely on the first play-through.
Though never quite avant-garde, this balancing act is hard to pull off and far too often those dabbling in the genre resort to a wall of noise approach that drowns out any discernible talent. Not so with Uzumaki, here the cacophony is necessarily convoluted, but crystal clear in execution; playing with oxymoronic duality seems a common theme on Spoken in Tongues, because nothing here should work, and yet it does. Every note is methodically placed in the three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle; when you put it all together it looks like a tornado of disparate parts, violent chaos with impossible precision.
Bass is down in the mix, but not absent; the low end instead is mostly driven by the drums, which sound pitch-perfect on this release. Suitably deep, the pummeling pulls you in every direction at once and then lets you go so you fall helplessly into the next torrent of beats and crashes. A remarkable blend of loose experimenting and tight technicality ebb and flow through the songs; oscillating between going with and against the grain of the guitars, the music feels constantly at odds with itself. Guitars are splintering chords sticking their sharp spikes in you at every chance, and mixing in are great, rolling, thunderous and thick riffs that batter and crush while you’re distracted by the twisting strings.
The vocals are a great blend of styles; cavernous throat warbles blending with standard screams, both of which are ideal for the music. My preference for this style of music is the unintelligible, low, earth-cracking growls, and Jared’s are among the best I’ve come across. Utilizing the more conventional screams as an accent, or a texture, instead of the main vocal style became a strength of this release. I couldn’t tell you what any of the lyrics are, and even if I could, I doubt I’d be able to decipher any meaning if the song titles are anything to go by.
Spoken in Tongues was an immediate favorite upon the first listen, I knew I had found something special. I hadn’t heard anything quite like this, and even the “For Fans Of” bands listed around the album only give you a very broad idea of what Uzumaki is capable of. I’ve often griped about repetition, but it is used sparingly, and necessarily; you need another moment to unpack every tiny section of this album. Certain parts seem impenetrable on the first pass, but unfurl to patient listeners when they repeat, or on additional plays. This is a great album, band, and (obviously) musician worthy of your time and patronage. With more releases out under various projects since the original release date and now signed with Vargheist Records to release new material under multiple monikers, if you don’t know him yet, you certainly will.
- Smothered Delicate Paradoxes
- Deconstructing Reversal
- Depiction of a Curiosity
- Eclectic Framed Burning Gloom
- Embody Abstraction
Total Playing Time: 25:04