|Review: Under Victoria - Under Victoria|
Year released: 2022
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: May 26, 2023
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Rated 4.2/5 (84%) (5 Votes)
Black metal has been a crowded pool for a very long time, with so many bands content with either merely aping past greats of the second wave, mindlessly blasting without anything resembling ideas or intent, or strumming on a guitar VH1 style instead of playing actual black metal. With all the bands I wade through, it can get disheartening to hear so many people do it serviceably at best and embarrassingly at worst, so you better believe a modern black metal band is special when I rate them highly.
That brings us to Under Victoria, a one-man project from Australia that simultaneously has the balls to do something remotely different and the skill to actually pull it off. Musically, he runs the gamut from traditional tremolo riffs to genuine thrashy sections to shimmering post sentiments, all of which aren't new by themselves, but here they are fearlessly blended into one another in a way that I can't say I've heard done before. This leads to urgent tremolo riffs dropping into doomy melodies in the blazing "Penance," honest-to-god black/thrash riffs that open up "Unnamed Birth" that fall into melodic post riffs before rising back up at the end, and generally just smoothly and suddenly transitioning between different styles of black metal without losing focus or ferocity. This is helped by an excellent production whose raw yet clear and spacious sound is damn impressive for what was undoubtedly a shoestring budget, and even the typical shrieked vocals are better than average as they drip with venomous hatred.
With so many bands willing to just go through the motions of the genre, to find a project that fearlessly experiments with the tools of the style to make something individual, frigid, and often stirring while still being within the realms of black metal is something that should be celebrated, and more's the pity that no one knows about it. This has all the makings of a cult underground classic, and with any luck, it'll be seen as such sooner than later.
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