sabato 23 settembre 2017

Uganga - "Opressor" (Sapólio Rádio, 2014; Defense Records/Deformeathing Production, 2017)

Band: Uganga
Title: Opressor
Genre: Thrashcore
Year:  10th November 2014, Sapólio Rádio; 3rd March 2017, Defense Records/Deformeathing Production)
Time: 40 min circa
Rating: 63/100

Sarcófago! An act able to draw the attentions of many many metalheads devoted to the rawest black metal played with the barbaric fury typical of a bunch of South American bands. But this review is neither about Sarcofago nor a band influenced heavily by them but is about Uganga. And who are these ones? And what is the role of Sarcófago in this review? A Brazilian band born in 1993, their singer Manu Joker played the drums just in Sarcófago at the end of the '80s. In addition, Uganga (Swahili for "sorcery") have released 4 studio full-lenght albums between 2003 and 2014 and, curiously, all them are characterized by a tracklist consisting ALWAYS and ONLY of 13 songs, included even their 2013 live album titled "Eurocaos - Ao Vivo", recorded in Bochum, Germany, as a coronation of their European second tour that reached also Italy. Said this, the last studio album called "Opressor", originally released in 2014 for the Brazilian label Sapólio Rádio, has been recently reissued in co-operation by Defense Records and Deformeating Production, both Polish labels.

These 5 guys (but now they are in 6 thanks to the addition of a third guitarist in the person of Murcego so to offer a crazy wall of sound) plays thrashcore. But it isn't the hysterical and chaotic thrashcore à la Wehrmach/Nadimaĉ that I like a lot. Instead, the approach choosen by Uganga is enough controlled also because, in their music, there are many massive mid-tempos are, as exemplified especially in songs like the titletrack or "Nas Entranhas do Sol" (where there is a mid-section very quiet with a whispering Manu). You have to consider also that Uganga are influenced by the groove metal of Pantera while, here and there, there are some traces taken from the metalcore of bands like Biohazard. But obviously, also Uganga are very able to crush the listeners with demented speed accelerations as every thrashcore band worthy of this name, as shown perfectly by the ultra-furious 2 minutes' attack "Moleque de Pedra" (that's my favorite song of the entire album, and it count the participation of Juárez Tibanha, singer/bassplayer of the death metallers Scourge) or by the intense "Who Are the True?", where the band play a classic of the historic Brazilian group Vulcano in a version, in my opinion, even better than the original also due to some more effective guitar solos (here it's mentionable the participation of two guests: Murillo Leite, singer of Genocidio, and Ralf Klein, guitarist of the German heavy metal squad Macbeth).
In the middle of tracklist, there are also strange instrumental numbers that lasts never beyond 40 seconds of lenght:  I am talking about "Veredas", "L.F.T." and "Noite". In these last two ones, there are tribal percussions that every time reminds to me "Ratamahatta" of Sepultura. But a song in every sense that have those percussions is the closing "Guerreiro", that ends strangely the album with a kind of a very quiet ballad connected, during its last seconds, with the opening track "Guerra". Curiously, "Guerreiro", according to Metal-Archives, lasts even 7 minutes while it seem to me that it lasts, exactly, only 3 minutes and 23 seconds.
"Guerra" videoclip

In brief, "Opressor" is an album which offers many ideas for a review, also lyrically speaking. For example, in according to Manu as he explains on the FB profile of the band, the monster on the cover artwork known as the "Oppressor", represents "our weaknesses" that range from greed to drugs or the wars. Among other things, the singer see the human being as a creature which, oppressed continuously through many different ways, become "more futile each day".
"Casa" videoclip

Ending this review, this album, for me, is good but it hasn't very brilliant solutions. And I think that Uganga do their best in the furious songs as "Moleque de Pedra" and "Who Are the True?" (but it's a cover) along with other good episodes called "O Campo" (inspired by a visit of the band to the concentration camp of Auschwitz during their first European tour in 2010) and "Casa". Instead, the slower numbers as the titletrack or "Nas Entranhas do Sol" are too controlled repeating, also, the same things from start to finish. Ergo, I believe that "Opressor" needed more fast and wild songs to be considered seriously effective. Anyway, if you want to listen to this mix between D.R.I., Biohazard and Pantera/Sepultura, I recommend to you to watch the videoclips shot for "Guerra" and "Casa". And watch also the teaser trailer of the first Uganga's DVD titled "Manifesto Cerrado", released in February 2017!
Teaser trailer of the DVD "Manifesto Cerrado"

Thanks to Marcin of Mythrone Promotion to sending me also this album!

Please, make a donation to Timpani allo Spiedo 'zine through the PayPal button at your right, above the cover artwork of my upcoming book about proto-black metal. Thank you very much!


1 - Guerra
2 - O Campo
3 - Veredas
4 - Opressor
5 - Moleque de Pedra
6 - Casa
7 - L.F.T.
8 - Modus Vivendi
9 - Nas Entranhas do Sol
10 - Aos Pès da Grande Árvore
11 - Noite
12 - Who Are the True? (Vulcano cover)
13 - Guerreiro


Manu Joker - vocals
Christian Franco - guitars
Thiago Soraggi - guitars
Ras Phael Franco - bass
Marco Henriques - drums


Juárez Tabanha ("Moleque de Pedra")
Murillo Leite ("Who Are the True?")
Ralf Klein ("Who Are the True")

Defense Records:
Deformeathing Production:

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