Uada became rapidly noteworthy for their technicolour take on black metal traditionalism on 2016’s Devoid Of Light. 2018’s Cult Of A Dying Sun was a more ambitious affair that further explored their evident love for the Norwegian second wave’s bombastic proponents, the duelling guitars of necrotic vocalist Jake Superchi and James Sloan the main event, wrought with a clarity of production that placed them on the more polished, accessible end of the spectrum. It was captivating for some, not cult enough for others, it’s fair to say. On the eve of their third release, Djinn, then, the question remains: are Uada the real deal?
As the titular opening track erupts it’s clear that the band’s sound has reached new heights, focused entirely around the creative relationship of songwriters Superchi and Sloan; the intricate interplay between their guitars are frequently the accelerant that ignites Djinn’s six tracks. The opening title track is surprisingly rock-orientated. Leads power over exuberant drums and moments of chest-thumping bombast, providing an early hint that Djinn isn’t going to rely solely on unrelenting blasts and tremolo picking. Second track The Great Mirage quickly explodes into just that, though, only to stomp on the brakes to craft atmospheric grandeur and pave the way for a grandstanding solo. No Place Here reignites the inferno and sustains its percussive intensity for 14 minutes as guitars undulate from an angry swarm to baleful grandeur.
Djinn proves time and again that Superchi and Sloan are Uada’s heart and soul. Your enjoyment of it depends entirely on what you want from black metal. It struggles to fully envelop you in otherworldly atmospheres; it is esotericism with its edges knocked off by studio polish. You’re hereby defied, however, to not feel the hairs rise on the back of your neck at the fervency and conviction of a creative couplet hellbent on shredding you to death.