Norway’s trio Uburen (Thord, Bior and Ask) was formed in 2010 with the goal to pay tribute to the mighty Viking-culture, playing their music with the mindsetting of these warriors fighting in the midst of battlefields or marching on during a bloody raid. Withered Roots therefor can be considered the soundtrack of the Norsemen’s victorious and epic conquership.
This first Uburen-album brings forty six minutes of heavy and epic Black Metal, beautifully combining aggressive rhythms with melodious leads. Some moments of those melodic riffing breathe the epic Pagan-structures of the Scandinavian Pagan / Viking scene anno early nineties, like the finale on Blood Eagle, or the fabulous opening riff in Forgotten Battlecries. Some tracks, by the way, are taken from the band’s 2012-EP Sons Of The Dying Gods, but most of them are new. The songs are pretty fast in general, with an execution reminiscent to the Norwegian scene, evidently. But it is not that easy to compare this horde to one or another band specifically. I do not mean that Uburen are renewing, because they are not. They do pay tribute to the heart of War-Black Metal for sure; but they cannot be considered cheap copycats either. When it comes to the vocals, there is a nice interaction in between somewhat croaky and gurgling screams at the one hand, and blood-spitting grunts at the other. I do also appreciate the few technically well-executed excerpts, as well as the very few integer-melancholic moments (cf. the last part of Escape). Fine too are the slower passages, though these are extremely limited, but they do act like a needful counterbalance to the massiveness of the speed-up majority (think Voluspaa or Deprived Of Empathy amongst others).
I think the second half of the album is stronger than the first part, for there’s more epic melody instead of pure violent anger. But that, of course, isn’t but the humble opinion of undersigned.