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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Ureas

The Black Heart Album

Review by Gary Hill

This album is not for everyone. That’s for sure. It’s pretty extreme a lot of the time. Those offended by “bad words” should avoid it, too. For me, though, this has a great blend of extreme metal with more proggy epic stuff. It can be technical at times and just plain aggressive at others. Clearly it leans toward Gothic, dark stuff, too. It’s a strong album no matter where you put it under the “metal” flag, though.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Hello

Piano leads off the set. It’s dramatic and melodic as other layers are added as icing. Then it shifts towards an ominous soundtrack like sound from there. It’s atmospheric with effects and bits of vocals and screams making up the sound. Around the one minute mark metal guitar screams out and we’re on our way. The arrangement on the verses is more stripped back. This is very much epic metal. When it hits the chorus some extreme metal vocals join the mix and the cut really screams outward. The male vocals on this have the more extreme approach while the female ones bring it more into the melodic epic metal style. This is a great combination and the whole piece really works well.

The Seven Deadly Sins
Earning a parental advisory for the lyrics, this thing is fierce. There are definitely symphonic epic metal things at play here. This is modern, heavy and very fast paced. Weird effects and things end the cut.
Black Heart
A whispered voice followed by the sounds of liquid pouring and other soundbites begins this. With only little bits of music, that makes up the first minute plus of this. There is typing on a keyboard, a phone and more in it. They power out to some hard rocking stuff from there. It’s mellower than the previous two songs, but still gets pretty heavy. It’s more rhythmic in a lot of ways. It gets another parental advisory, too.
Seal This Moment
This is arguably the best song on the whole disc. It’s also worth the price of admission all by itself. It could be called “progressive rock,” really. It powers in heavy, but has so many shifts and changes. There are much mellower moments in place after that pounding movement. It has so much magic built into it. This is epic in scope and scale. It’s quite theatrical in a lot of ways. It has some major screaming metal, but that mellower stuff runs counterpoint to it. This is a thrill ride from the start to the finish.
V for Victory
More straightahead metal, this is fast paced. It’s also very meaty. The crunch drives it along with the ferocious rhythm section.  This takes no prisoners. There are some changes, but overall, this is just solid metal.
For Who You Are
Starting with a bit of news coverage, this works out with piano and strings serving as the backdrop for the first (female) vocals. The cut builds on that in a way that’s not far removed from modern progressive rock. When it powers out to the epic metal stuff, the male vocals deliver the first words of that section. After that bit, they go back to the earlier section, but with more crunch built into it. This pushes forward, but also has a lot of proggy elements at play. This is another that is epic in scope. It’s also another of the highlights of the set. I really love this song.
The Valley of the Shadow of Death
Starting with a 911 call, the police officers take over from there. As it gets past the half minute mark, the music powers outward. This has technical aspects, but powers out as some serious heavy metal. A couple lines of vocals lead to a false ending. Then we get a return to the sound effects from the beginning. They fire it back out from there. It works forward in a straightforward metal approach until it eventually crescendos. Then it drops to just keys and the female vocals for the next movement. Then they scream back out with seriously heavy metal from that point.
Shut the F*** Up
Given my edit of the title, it should be no shock that this cut gets a parental advisory. This is a killer tune, though. It’s catchy. It also has a great balance between heavy, rather extreme metal and more melodic epic metal. It’s a screamer, but tempered with some melodious moments.
It's All Around Me
They waste no time powering out into some ferocious metal on this. Yet it has symphonic, epic elements in the arrangement, too.
All Alone Am I
The keyboard sound that starts this makes me think of Deep Purple. It modulates out from thee, though into something more modern and electronic. Female vocals come over the top of the arrangement as this works forward. It powers to the more metallic territory after the one minute mark. This is very much an epic metal styled cut. It has a good balance between mellower and heavier as it works its way through.
Epistula
This is very different. It’s basically piano with some strings and other elements in terms of music. The vocals come in over this backdrop. It’s essentially progressive rock like, but it’s also dark and a bit creepy. The vocals really steal the show here. Normally, I wouldn’t think of a mellow song as a great closer, but somehow this really works well in that slot. It has a bit of a King Diamond or Alice Cooper feel to it in a lot of ways. It’s also one of my favorite pieces here.
 
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