2004. The debut album “Pareja” by Riga’s URSKUMUG arrives on my doorstep, good rough Melodic Black Metal. 2007. The Latvians sign a deal with Lithuanian Ledo Takas Records label and release their next album “Am Nodr”. So far the timeline in the career of the gentlemen Krauklis, Maero, Balrogh, Mythago and Ilze.
The style definitely is Black Metal, it is melodic, yet at the same time it is not the usual symphonic sound we are treated to so often, but URSKUMUG sound a lot gruffer and rougher than the majority of comparable bands, even though the production is very clear and powerful. Instead the Latvians have a sort of primordial (no, not the band) quality to them, managing to weave unusual melodies and guitar runs into the wall of riffs and drums they erect, bludgeoning the listener and even utilize a mouth harp to add authenticity to their sound.
After the odd, almost Industrial like intro “2012” we get a heavy hit straight to the noggin with “Time Of The Jackdaw”, partly atmospheric, partly pure blastbeat frenzy, so you can see, they are not just crashing full force ahead, but also know when to take out the tempo and the heaviness for best effect. The guitar sound is cold and has this Nordic touch and works well with the powerful compositions. “----“ (yes, that is the title) even combines frantic blastbeats with mouth harp, while “The Guardian” pairs blastbeats and slower parts with mouth harp, while the title track covers an impressive spectrum from slow, intense and atmospheric over tribal-like percussion and light chanting up to powerful double-bass and blastbeats, this is one hell of a track!
It might take a little to get into URSKUMUG’s sound, as they are not very accessible, yet if you give them a little more time, then you’ll be rewarded with an original, powerful and still melodic Black Metal album that has character, something countless bands out there, something that should be honoured!
(Online July 31, 2007)