Thursday, June 11, 2015

CD review: UPON SHADOWS 7 Stages Of Grief by Dave Wolff

7 Stages Of Grief
Upon Shadows is a dark metal band from Montevideo, Uruguay consisting of Tamara Picardo (keyboards, guitar, programming, vocals) and Natalia Arocena (bass). The band has been around since 2002 and have recorded some memorably experimental and creative full lengths, all of which can be downloaded at their Facebook community page (see above). The two ladies have mastered their instruments in a way that each album is a new journey into a new world of darkness where some strange wonder awaits you. In AEA (issue 18 to be exact) you can read an informative interview and reviews of their work have shown up on occasion. 2014 saw a different direction for the and with 7 Stages Of Grief, a collection of ambient tracks arranged and recorded by Picardo and Arocena. I haven’t listened to as many ambient recordings as metal, but from those I did hear (straightforward ambient by Mortiis and Aghast or more thought out ambience from bands on the Death Odors and Karmanik Collection comps) recording an ambient album is more of a task since fresh ideas have to constantly be thought up so as to keep the recording itself fresh and keep things from becoming too monotonous and boring. Picardo and Arocena manage to carry this seven-track recording from beginning to conclusion by providing different themes for each stage of grief representing the turmoil people experience from a life-changing event. The effects in some of these songs are multi-layered similarly to Celtic Frost’s approach to ambience in Danse Macabre and Tears In A Prophet’s Dream while other tracks include classical themes hearkening to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, musically and figuratively. Denial and songs like it incorporate both themes, having them flow into one another unexpectedly and naturally. All these elements make for an album with a sense of mystery as to the direction it will take next. The band’s Bandcamp profile is also streaming the band's new single Andromeda. -Dave Wolff