Tales Of Blood & Fire, the sophomore album by Boise/Portland doom-mongers Uzala is a very different beast from their self-titled debut.
As well as a change of line-up, with bassist Nick Phit departing to focus on the reunited Graves At Sea, and drummer Chuck Watkins leaving Graves At Sea to focus on Uzala, the band simply sounds far more confident having been road-tested on a couple of US tours.
Opening track 'Seven Veils' exhibits this growth immediately, the growing growl of distortion enveloping the listener, as clean guitar wavers and winds its way through the fuzz. When guitarist/vocalist Darcy Nutt's voice arrives, its with a new-found command, the strength of her hypnotic croon putting Uzala far ahead of the pack in the increasingly crowded 'female-fronted occult doom' genre.
Final track 'Tenement Of The Lost' is a concise distillation of all the elements that make Tales Of Blood & Fire so compelling; haunting vocals over fuzzed-out riffs and hard-hitting percussion. What more could you ask for from one of the best doom albums released this year?
Tales Of Blood & Fire will be released as a deluxe vinyl package available through King of the Monsters