#Dauþuz Uranium

4 min read

Band: Dauþuz
Title: Uranium
Release Date: 30 April 2024
Country: Germany
Label: Amor Fati Productions
Format Reviewed: High-quality digital recording

Dauþuz album Uranium begins with a few seconds of scraping and crackling. Only after the second listening and reading the bio of the band, did I realize that this must be the sound of a Geiger meter. The explanation makes the intro understandable but not less annoying. However, after a few seconds, the music starts with a blast of warm guitars and a long satisfying scream, and the uncomfortable start is forgotten.

From the first chords, I am swept away and immersed into the epic storytelling of this album. Now, Uranium is not an album that will make any seasoned black metal listener lose their sanity in the grim forest of evil. Rather it is a gathering around a campfire, long and thoughtful stories being shared while the danger lurking in the surrounding woods is kept at a safe distance. I find myself contemplating my life choices, feeling both challenged and supported by the music.

The production is clean and has a softness to it that makes it easy to listen to. The tone of the guitars is warm and there is a simple beauty about the melodic elements, reminding me of Burzum and old European folk songs. The whole arrangement is restrained despite the epic effect. I hear one or two guitars, both clearly separable, and the ambiance is created only by instruments and vocals as far as I can hear. The clean vocals are heavily used as an underlying colouring layer the same way a synthesiser is often used but with a more dynamic and personal effect. The effect of sitting around the campfire, humming a melody together between the stories.

The vocals are the real benefit of this album, and also the challenge. While the music remains warm, sad, and harmonious throughout the album, bringing memories of early works of Totalselfhatred and Make a Change… Kill Yourself, the vocalist follows no rules and accepts no boundaries. He moves from Burzumesque wails and shrieks to classical black metal fry screaming, to clean song melodies, chorus-like background vocals, and even spoken word. He has my attention. From the first scream, I knew that I was open to whatever he was going to tell me and I stayed open through all these turns and changes. The pained screams are so honest. It is rare for a black metal vocalist to be so visible as a person, to have emotion and vulnerability come through their harsh voice. Even more unusual to do this without tipping over into the theatrical. These vocals keep me company, I get to know them as a complicated friend. They surprise me, soothe me, and challenge me to go deeper.

Yet when the album ends, I find myself in an unsettling state of mind. Despite the soothing melodies and the soft production, it has not been a soft or soothing meditation. Something has crept up on me as the album has gone by. Maybe it is the tension between the comforting music telling me everything will be fine and the emotional breakdown of the vocals that leaves me with the feeling that something is in there, some unseen evil from the forest is sitting right in the circle with us and soon the safety of our companionship will fall apart.

If I would say something on the negative side of this album it would obviously be the intro. It may be the intention of the band to sweep the listener away to some powerplant, but I would have preferred to be left to my own imagination. The use of the clean vocals could be cut back a bit to make more of an impact when they come and go, and the spoken word and some spoken screaming at the end of the album cross the line to the theatrical. Also, the riffs and melodies are not the most innovative. But these are details and technicalities and when an album gives me this level of immersion, I don’t care what inspired it.

I recommend this album to anyone who likes slow, epic, and atmospheric black metal and can handle a bit of human vulnerability in the vocals. 8/10 Ask den Hängde

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8/10: To Greatness and Glory
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