Uškumgallu- “Mortifying the Flesh”

Uškumgallu - Mortifying the Flesh

Keeping in line with this week’s theme, here’s the most recent output from the mighty Vrasubatlat tape label. Another sold out tape, this is the first repeat performance we see from a Vrasubatlat act, and it’s a project I’d love to see even more from. With Mortifying the Fleshwe see Uškumgallu expanding on their simplistic approach and growing into a fully formed beast of raw, psychedelic horror. I’ll admit that this is the one Vrasubatlat release I’ve spent the most time with, as the demo was sent to me in a raw format over the summer, so I’ve had sufficient time to let it work its way through my subconscious. I hope you’ll join me into madness here for a few minutes.

Rarely does a band so accurately capture their own sound and direction that I find myself struggling to compete with their own bio, but this “stygian fall through the tunnels of anxiety and despair” is one of the most gripping pieces of murky black metal I’ve heard in a while. The guitars may linger on the lower end, but there’s little to tie this to the more death metal infused sounds of labelmates Serum Dreg or Triumvir Foul. Instead, this is a howling experience of frailty and futility, with angular instrumentation leaning ever inward, like a collapsing structure. Vocals appear demonic at first, but crackles of human voice break through, caving beneath the weight of something not described by the band yet felt immensely throughout the recording.

The real highlight of this tape is its closing piece, “The Stars Are Laced With Serpentine And Blood,” with the masochistic slithering of its first few minutes giving way to pure blasting black metal of the most evil sort. This bold way of ending the demo makes it seem as though Uškumgallu is holding back something huge, only to finally lose a battle with something intangible and unholy. Upon a repeat listen, even the glistening feedback that kicks off “Rotten Diadem” hints at this great pressure and fear. At just over fifteen minutes long, it’s only reasonable that this is the sort of tape that gets multiple plays before being swapped out for something else. Since the tapes are out of stock, subject yourself to the pains yet unknown in this world by snagging a download from the Vrasubatlat bandcamp and get ready for the label’s next release, which should be due sooner than later at the rate they’ve been working.