Solitude, darkness and wilderness. Three topics that have been widely covered by almost every black metal artist in the world. One would guess that ain’t original anymore. But let’s say that it could be, assumed that they should be treated in the proper way. Gladly, Ulg knew how to do it.
Ulg is nothing but the latest John Marshall’s creature. We have already discussed about his other project, Dysperium, which released a splendid album in 2016, Night of The Howl Winds. However, in his new black art incarnation, Mr. Marshall did not change a lot his potion of darkness. Though, the music hastened its pace and the whole brew became way more atmospheric and spacey, yet the good ol’ sombre evilness and desolation remained. And that’s good. But seriously, we can’t go wrong listening to Oregon made black metal.
As this 4-track work kicked in, I’ve been impressed by the incredible affinity with Drudkh’s first couple of works. It’s strange ‘cause one would expect to hear a lot of Wolves in The Throne Room or maybe Agalloch influences here. But you won’t. Ulg absorbed all the black malevolence that comes from the East. And actually, Windark sounds so fuckin’ European, so to speak.
That being said, the “space” available for an embracing aura of atmospheric black metal is wide and well filled with double drums, chainsaw-styled guitars -which create a dense fog of sound- and distant, move-to-the-background screams. Again, this is no original solution but Ulg’s John Marshall mastered it pretty neatly. In fact, all four tracks make a perfect pathway into the darkest of nature, with its highest points touched on Eternal Winter and the instrumental closure, Lost Wilderness -this latter stands on top of them all. Without any doubt, the hypnotic and somehow claustrophobic airs summoned by the Oregon based band are the real gem of Windark. Guitars are presented with huge reverbs and so are the screams. Which, according to the album foot notes, are recorded … “in the solitude of the Oregon forest”. Whether this may be relevant to you folks, I found they do have a perfect balance between an old-school-lo-fi-kinda-sound and ethereal scream of an ancient spirit wandering amongst the woods [!].
I can’t really find something too wrong to reproach in here. Honestly, every stylistic choice has been made properly and wisely. Maybe, and again … maybe Windark lacks of a “memorable” riff. Otherwise, it all flows with the same fog caped sound, part by part, riff by riff, scream by scream. But probably, that is the really catching point of Ulg’s first work to date.