Utzalu- “Drowning in Sanguine Screams”


We close out this brief series on the newest Vrasubatlat releases with a look at Drowning in Sanguine Screams, the most recent cassette from primitive black punk act Utzalu. In ways it’s clearly the work of the same group responsible for the prior two releases, yet there’s also growth amid this offering of filth. The production remains gnarled and raw but slightly more pronounced, allowing the songs to feel crisper and less blown out, enhancing the fierceness. It’s not necessarily clean, but it’s more precise, a quality that bolsters Utzalu’s sound without detracting from the immensity.

Beginning with the feedback introduction of “Cold Perversion,” a song whose rawest form was previously displayed as a demo on this very site, it’s clear that Utzalu is showing its strongest side on this release. The vocals sound almost human at times on these songs, which is almost more unsettling than the harsher grunting style displayed in most Vrasubatlat projects. This is the sound of strength and despair tangled in each other’s horrifying limbs as they stagger towards death. While this isn’t as maddening and twisted as Dagger Lust’s predatory horrors, it’s clear that the cold embrace of discomfort is where Vrasubatlat’s artists are setting their gaze. Don’t expect a clean lead to pop out and win your heart over; this is depravity for its own sake. The true highlight in terms of songwriting here may well be the start and stop dynamics presented in “Of Stillbirth and Sorrow,” but listeners seeking pure unease will delight in the swirling, noise-laden closer “Thérèse,” which seems to hint at bold new territory for Utzalu’s future. With such a polarizing approach, it seems that sheer willpower and heft alone are carrying Utzalu on as a group. This is not art that will sell or win the masses. A tape like Drowning in Sanguine Screams is something that connects with the determined few.

With two releases in such a short span, it’s hard to say if this is Utzalu setting a strong pace or if this was merely a fruitful period before other Vrasubatlat artists come to the forefront. With such an urgency and a sense of frustration behind this music, one can only hope that Utzalu is ready for more gigging. While touring on a larger scale seems to be of little interest to the group (as mentioned in our interview with Ad Infinitum) these songs seem as ripe as any for a full live assault.