Black, Death, Industrial. The frontier of sonic disembodiment. Extreme metal pushed at its limits, conjoined at the spine like an abominable cryptid with the most deranged fringe of Industrial and synthetic sonic de(con)struction. Over the years we’ve seen a never-ending evolution in this subgenre crossover niche of evil industrial that has its roots tracing back to the holy spring of weird and unpredictable music, starting from the more traditional punk and new wave derived industrial of Killing Joke and Cabaret Voltaire and then it just got weirder from there: from Throbbing Gristle into Coil, from Einstürzende Neubauten into Swans, into Godflesh and Skinny Puppy, moving along the flanks of total sonic dismemberment and artificial reassembly with the whole Cold Meat Industry era, and then back into even more deviated realms with the complete embracing of evil and occultism via the disembodied incantations of acts like Mz.412, Nordvargr and Trepaneringsritualen. And we’re far from finished, and anyone who’s been following the evolutions of even more granular and intransigent subgenera like Power Electronics and Harsh Noise, knows exactly what we’re talking about.
And the East Coast’s blackened post-industrial/power electronics weapon URANIUM appears to be another perfect example of this thriving wound that is opening an even bloodier and more gruesome gash into the fabric of industrial and extreme metal crossover experimentalism, and which is pushing the limits forward, at the outer confines and vanguard of where industrial perhaps should never push itself. Word has it that the band’s debut album “An Exacting Punishment”, released last month on LP, MC, and digital via Sentient Ruin, doesn’t have a single-stringed instrument played on it… And that the whole thing is conceived via a monstrous manipulation of samples and sequences. Yet the load of distorted death-bearing destruction seething inside its wretched womb can rival in sheer horror and tonnage that of ANY, and I mean ANY traditional extreme metal act. Just take URANIUM as the synthetic version of bands like Teitanblood or Portal, and you’re halfway to where we’re trying to get your mind and imagination to go here.
“An Exacting Punishment” is a multi-headed hydra; five songs, a multitude of moods, and multiple places to go to, or be taken to, with your mind as the music enacts its nightmarish rapture. The cornerstone piece to the album is not this track or that track, or this moment of the album VS that. The band’s (and not just the album’s) concept is what really makes the music come into focus and reveal its abominable aura. The band’s obsession, dissection, and religious reverence for the unholy power of the splitting atom have yielded a sonic abomination of implausible traits. The horrors of nuclear energy and the darkest aspects of its existence are the guiding light Uranium uses to take the listener down into an inescapable and wretched abyss from which there is no return. Everything is thrown into this void, from the decade-long deformities of its invisible and implacable hand to the horrific and incurable slow death of radiation poisoning, to the otherworldly and lightning fast wide-scale destruction of the fireball and shockwave, to the aspect of warfare and the ground-zero fallout darkness that to this day is the only human-witnessed event capable of evoking the actual visualization of hell. All this conceptual, spiritual, emotional, scientific, cultural, medical, and philosophical payload of severe consequences and inevitability is meticulously woven by one man AA into a sonic weapon representation of absolute death of truly horrifying proportions, almost as if Oppenheimer’s eternal and famous words ring out again louder and clearer than ever and now have their greatest representation ever in the world of “popular” music.
Samples and sequences that twist unto each other like live bodies wilting and dissolving into a beam of ionizing radiation, cold and punishing rhythmics evoking the materialization of a miles-wide ground zero with nothing standing but falling ash, nightmarish slow-moving necrotizing atmospherics conjuring the slow and inexorable nuclear death as skin falls off flesh and cancerous cells split unbound, bludgeoning waves of distortion assaulting the listener as if in the midst of the throes of WWIII trench or nuclear bunker warfare, the absolute, god-like, silhouette of total, and omnipotent power and inevitability, casting its monstrous shadow and all its destructive force unto the powerless insignificance and weakness of human flesh. Lest we forget this power that narrates and is narrated by the sonic nightmare of Uranium, is the power of stars, which comes from outer space, and which with its god-like and alien traits and seduction of absolute domination, has poisoned human minds for nearly a century now, as mankind attempts to control and subdue it to establish control over its peers. What else, if not the absolute, crowning symbol of the apocalypse and of human delusion? Almost as if Uranium is telling us through its music, that we haven’t seen anything yet and the that the “best” is yet to come. And on that note, I would like to let you know that I have heard small snippets of the late 2023 follow-up full-length Uranium album that will be titled PURE NUCLEAR DEATH directly from Sentient Ruin, and all I can say is this: join your hands in silent prayer, for “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”…..
An Exacting Punishment” was released officially on January 27th, 2023, on LP, cassette, and digitally via Sentient Ruin, grab it at their webshop or Bandcamp.