MMA Reviewer's Challenge: Album selected by 666sharon666.
Released in 2013 U.M.A. is the debut and so far only album from Italian post black metal duo Progenie Terrestre Pura. Duo’s seem more common in black metal and I sometimes wonder how these bands can pull it off in a live setting. However, it’s of little consequence here as it’s all about the album.
Only five tracks in total though all are pretty long from thirteen down to seven minutes. This is black metal of the atmospheric variety with a strong spacey feel. Progenie Terrestre Pura aren’t in a hurry and prefer a slow burn approach. Opener, named after the band gives us over three minutes of trippy cosmic ambience before anything resembling black metal kicks in. You could be forgiven for thinking you were listening to a Tangerine Dream album to this point. When the metal does kick in its initially fairly generic black metal with blast beats flailing away, tremolo picked guitars and typical rasping vocals. No bad thing in itself but my ears picked up more when the pace slowed somewhat with heavier riffing augmented by the spacey synth lines adding some haunting melody to the proceedings. At thirteen minutes Sovrarobotizzazione is the longest of the lot and follows a similar approach. Whilst it sometimes feels like the parts are randomly thrown together as if you could mix and match in any order you like the number of changes does help maintain interest and some of the quieter sections in particular become quite captivating at times with some well-placed clean guitar parts.
The instrumental sections generally take precedence over the vocals. In fact La Terra Rossa Di Marte has none and is seven minutes of ambience overlaid with spacey synth lines and tasteful guitar picking. Whether this has a place on a black metal album is debateable and likely to alienate fans of the purer variety but then it is a genre that covers many bases and not generally afraid to experiment so why not. I’d have preferred real drums over what almost certainly sounds like programmed but I guess in the context of the songs they add to the futuristic feel of the album. Droni is one of the best song on the album. Whilst is doesn’t deviate from the general formula of the first two tracks it seems to gel and flow better and packing more punch too. Whilst prog elements are a feature of the album as a whole they’re most apparent in Sinapsi Divelte and also features some cleaner vocal work and instrumental sections less typical of black metal at times.
Overall despite one or two moments where I was shouting get on with it! I enjoyed U.M.A. quite a lot. Certainly enough to keep an eye open for future releases. Not your typical black metal by any stretch and probably will go over the heads of many fans of the genre but more prog orientated metal fans could find much to enjoy here.