Urushiol - Pools of Green Fire
Experimental Death Metal
5 songs (33:11)
Release year: 2022
Official Bandcamp
Reviewed by Goat

A side-project of Alexander DeMaria (Anicon and Yellow Eyes among others) Urushiol is the kind of project that only really needs one release to make an impact. What more is there to say, after all? This is death metal, but death metal that took Where the Slime Lives to its natural conclusion and beds down in the disgusting chemical bath of the cover, making new lifeforms in its inhuman gurgling. It's still death metal as opposed to some nightmarish goregrind, although often so otherworldly as to make that distinction meaningless, such as on the alien waves of Iridescent Darkness. And it's difficult to tell even whether those strange noises are vocals or just some layered effects on top of the already dense sound, which is well-mixed enough to allow the bass its space and adds doubt as to whether those programmed-sounding drums are the work of a machine or some hideous multi-tentacled blob...

Of course, trying to sell music to people in a review is a tough enough job when it doesn't sound like some eerie alien transmission! And Urushiol is definitely the sort of project with limited appeal, even for death metal. Yet there is something oddly compelling about this, an album that's very easy to come back to for one more indulgent immersion. DeMaria nails the atmosphere, the intro to opener Phase Lock buzzing like some forbidden jungle before launching into a muffled but galloping take on death metal that's primitive in terms of sound but clearly hiding an altogether inhuman intelligence. Pillars of Red Smoke continues the ominous atmosphere, initially taking a doomier approach before speeding up and turning into a very strange blackened rumble, while Curved Air is even more out-there, backing beats beneath deranged bursts of noise, like the dying cries of some chthonic beast.

The only issue with all this, aside from the essential weirdness of the music itself, is that the songs don't flow very well between them. Each acts as a piece in its own right rather than as a part of something greater and even though some are much longer - seven or eight minutes in length - there's little to connect one soundscape to the next. Yet the journey overall is so bizarre and otherworldly that any jarring inter-track changes feel like part of the experience overall. Not an experience you'd recommend to everyone, and Urushiol will definitely appeal only to oddballs. One of the more unique and downright weird death metal experiences of late, however; a trip that fans of the unusual will appreciate.

Killing Songs :
Pillars of Red Smoke, Pools of Green Fire
Goat quoted 70 / 100
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