UREAS – The Black Heart Album

UREAS – The Black Heart Album

If you want to know about Ureas their website is a good place to start. Upon finding their homepage you’re greeted by their self-description which is so perfect I’ve put it here in its entirety:

“Welcome to Denmark’s most controversial Gothic/Metal/Rock/Badass motherfucking street progressive fucked-up metal band”

Which is not only a fuckton of things to try to be, it’s potentially the angstiest, edgiest, most hilariously immature way I’ve ever been told by a band that they make music for the hardcore 13-17 demographic, pushing for the sweet-spot when everyone’s angry about everything and nobody knows why.

It’s also a pretty good summary of the quality of their song writing.

“Shut the Fuck up” is little more than a litany of cliché and tedious vulgarity of the kind that most people grow bored of upon leaving high school. There’s a lot of “don’t push me” a lot of “shut the the fuck up” and a lot of “I don’t give a fuck”, the battle cries of coddled pre-teens furious their parents are doing something as audaciously cruel as demanding they wear a seatbelt in the car they got for their birthday. As such, it’s almost painful to listen to as an adult for no other reason that you’re old enough to know what hackneyed, emotionally vapid writing is when you hear it. And should you listen to this album, you’re going to be hearing a lot of it.

It’s not that the occasional melodic “fuck you” can’t be a good thing, but usually they’re backed up with solid writing, something missing from “The Black Heart Album”, both as a title and a body of work. I mean, seriously? The Black Heart Album? I’m not sure they’ve earned that “The” for a collection of largely lacklustre tracks whose focus, lyrically at least, is with whatever loose rhyme the songwriter thought of first.

Not that it’s entirely terrible, of course. “Black Heart” is the first decent track on the album, but unfortunately that’s not a particularly lofty boast. What it does well is a jazzy, regular rhythm that would’ve made a great bridge in a track with more imagination but here is forced to provide all of the musical accompaniment to what sounds otherwise like a diary entry following a particularly nasty argument with your first girlfriend. There’s a surprisingly competent solo about three quarters in, but otherwise it totally fails to be interesting or compelling.

Aside from that, it’s mostly forgettable. The problem seems to be a combination of poor lyrics and unimaginative subject matter, but lyrical styles of both vocalists leave a lot to be desired, with Per Johansson’s sickly growl nothing you haven’t heard before and Heidi’s bizarrely childlike voice doing nothing to hide the absurdity of her lyrics. Most notably during “The Valley of the Shadow of Death” her sections sound explicitly like they were made up as she went. There’s a specific verse about learning how to fly that would’ve been considered poorly written in a children’s book, and then immediately ended with the guttural howl of a slipknot cover-band.

Instrumentally they’re competent and occasionally surprising, with moments of actual inspiration and meaning, but whenever you find yourself beginning to enjoy yourself there’s another ham-fisted attempt at pathos that’s hampered in its attempts at meaning by talentless writing.

Or, to put it in a way they’d understand: Black Heart Album? More like Black Fart Album!

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