Welcome to Revelations of Doom, Metal Injection's portal into the seedy underworld of extreme metal. Your tour guide is, as always, Grim Kim, and this time around, I've got something for you that's colored a little lighter than the usual sludge fiends and black metal tyrants that populate this column. Imagine the unholy union of Blood Ceremony, Mourn, Jex Thoth, and Dead Meadow- all fuzzy guitars, psychedelic meanderings, hints of '70s sexiness, haunting female vocals, and just enough doomed resolve to keep things firmly on the heavy side of the spectrum. Meet Uzala.
Boise, Idaho isn't exactly the most happenin' city around. The Midwest is a fertile breeding ground for sweet metal bands (see: the Chicago scene as a whole, plus the Indianapolis-bred Coffinworm, Black Arrows of Filth & Impurity, and The Gates of Slumber to start) but I can't think of a single notable band that's come out of Boise (correct me if I'm missing someone obvious). Either way, cheers to Uzala for leading the charge! I discovered this doomed quartet on accident. I reconnected with my friends Chad and Darcy (who are also both killer tattoo artists) at this year's Roadburn fest, and they happened to mention that their band had just finished recording a demo. Of course my interest was piqued, and a few days later, Uzala's maiden voyage into the unknown showed up in my mailbox. My first thought was, "Whoa! Four songs in nineteen minutes? Slow down there, speed racer! Isn't this supposed to be doom?"
Oh yes, it's doom, but it is doom in the way that the Devil's Blood or Jex Thoth are doom – don't expect to hear the funereal scrapings of Moss, the histrionic bleakness of Candlemass, or whiskey-soaked riffage of Orange Goblin up in here. This is doom as the masters first played it. Uzala are dark, shrouded in occult visions and standing firmly with eyes turned to the past – we're talking straight-up '70s here, copious amounts of Black Sabbath worship, and more than a few Saint Vitus licks, with a younger, more fresh-faced Jinx Dawson at the helm. From the first ominous, Electric Wizardly tones of "The Reaping" I was hooked. With guitarist/vocalist Darcy Nutt's full-bodied vocals – at times throaty, at times angelic – slithering over and under the hypnotic, distorted fuzz riffs and Chad Remains' sporadic hoarse invocations (see "Fracture") mixing up the dynamic, Uzala have managed to nail the whole "female fronted band" thing without making a big deal about it – or any deal at all. Like doom goddess Liz Buckingham once said, "I want to be thought of as a great guitarist – not a great female guitarist;" call it a hunch, but I get the feeling that Uzala's Darcy would agree.
Uzala have only been around since the summer of 2009, but judging from the strength of their 2010 demo, are well on their way to doing some very great things. Check them out on Myspace, and do us all a favor by sending 'em five bucks and checking out their beast of a demo!