From the vibrant metal scene of Portland comes Usnea self titled debut, and it’s a monster. Their blending of genres is unlike anything I have heard in recent years. Metal Archives classifies them as a Blackened DOOM band. Which is true. But the small additions of other genres is what really sets them apart.
Blackened anything is a something I love. Even more so when the words Sludge or DOOM are after it. Both of those genres can be heard on this record. Along with bits of Drone and some Post Rockish parts. The seamless blending of these is what I love the most. Never sudden or jerky. One flows right into the other. Four songs over 10 minutes in length each allow them to explore all of their genre influences. The closest comparison I can make is to the first Altar of Plagues album. Not in terms of sound but how they can blend genres with in songs and the album. There is an atmosphere of darkness that runs through this entire album. Even when it gets quiet (and that is not much at all) you never feel safe. You know darkness is lurking just around the next riff. Blackened vocals help to add to that feeling. This is an album that needs to be heard in it’s totality.
I put off hearing this album for some time with no good reason. Well better late than never. Because it will no doubt end up on my year end list, and may very well crack the top 5. This is one of the most promising debuts I have heard in some time.
[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]
A side note: The Bandcamp has four songs. But if you buy the record it only has the first two. But have no fear, as the purchase of the physical copy( which I always prefer) comes with a digital download for all four songs. Not as good as getting all four, but the next best thing.