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Umbra - Umbra review

Band: Umbra
Album: Umbra
Release date: 2006

01. Embers Of Spectral Flame
02. Altered States
03. A Thousand Dirty Landscapes
04. Buried Beneath
05. Ethereal States Of Delusion And Unsettling Visions
06. Transcedental Architecture
07. Decompression Sickness

Although Umbra is a band that claims to have roots in black metal, this connection is only audible in the general coldness of the atmosphere that prevades on this album. Instead, what Umbra plays is a very fresh-sounding metallic form of rhythmic dark ambient with drone elements, not far detached from what the Cold Meat Industry label would offer.

The songwriting revolves around either producing or keeping a particular mood and the guitars are usually limited to being used as a texture instrument. The album starts with an ambient piece, which serves as a very suitable introduction to what lies ahead. The dark mood is set and we are ready to get into the trance that the monotonous beats (present in most of the pieces) instill on us. Naturally, monotony is not a negative term in this sort of music. Indeed, the harmony between ambient droning and the little changes that the listener is forced to look for is very well balanced. There is a very clear flow that makes the listening experience quite pleasant, even though the textures themselves that appear on this album can be quite harsh. What also deserves praise on this album is the orchestral, almost symphonic quality of the synth passages. In no way do they sound overdone or pompous and I see this as a great achievement in today's world where such passages are usually associated with excess and pretentiousness.

This is one album that should be listened to as a whole and for this reason highlighting the best tracks is fairly pointless. With this said, I was especially impressed by the phenomenal atmosphere and feeling that radiates from the third track on the album, "A Thousand Dirty Landscapes". What I personally feel while listening to the haunting, somber synth washes present in this piece is a feeling of profuse longing. I could easily see this piece being used as a soundtrack to some very depressive movie as its ability to stir feelings is definitely of filmic proportions. Another track that especially captured by attention is "Transcedental Architecture", which contains the only rock-oriented drum-guitar interplay on the album. I feel that it acts well as a connection of Umbra's ambient music to reality, which in this case is more traditionally minded rock music.

If you are a fan of atmospheric droning music chances are this album wont leave your CD-Player for a very long time. I know I listen to it quite often along with my Caspar Brotzmann Massaker, Atrium Carceri and Earth albums when I feel the need to use music as a means of getting into that twisted hypnotic trance-state. Totally recommended to anyone who knows what I am talking about in the previous sentence.

Written on 15.10.2005 by With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. He lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he does his best to avoid prosecution for being so cool.


Comments: 7   Visited by: 34 users
02.11.2006 - 13:15
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Umbra is indeed very good. And the good news is that it will finally be released soon. Can't wait to get my hands on a proper copy of the album.
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

02.11.2006 - 15:46

I haven't listened to them for a long time, but i remember only good things about the times i used to hear their music often. A good band!
02.11.2006 - 21:15
The only Umbra I know is a polish one. But they don't have any self titled album. Enlight me, pls!
Blessed is he that murders Christ in himself and in his fellow men.

Written by TheBigRossowski on 10.02.2009 at 16:01

if my wife and I can't conceive, I want a medical shipment of your sperm so our baby will be just like you.
03.11.2006 - 14:40

Here you go
Only the last song of the album is missing as i just found out, so i haven't heard it either. On the site is just one problem: if you want to download, you have to register.
03.11.2006 - 14:44
Zombie, M.D.

If you plan on downloading it from the soundclick, I would suggest doing so soon. I will be removing the album from the soundclick account as soon as the CD arrives.
"I really screwed up this time." - Jeffery Dahmer
03.11.2006 - 21:39
Mr. Noise
Sounds very good, and from what I've heard, I agree fully. Will buy a CD if possible.
SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
10.02.2007 - 06:47
Zombie, M.D.

The CD is out now. Check the promotion and ads forum for more details.
"I really screwed up this time." - Jeffery Dahmer

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