Uivo Bastardo are a brand-new band from Lisbon with members of Kronos And Concealment in their ranks. Clepsydra is an ancient time-measuring device worked by a flow of water. Put them together and what have you got? Well the answer is basically a melodic act with abrasion and guttural vocals who meld together elements of rock, groove metal, industrial and electronics. There’s not much more that can be fathomed about them as all information, lyrics and song-titles derive from their native Portuguese language. Sometimes this can work for and against a band. I got kind of fed up with what I call German music for German people in this sense as in many cases it is only going to really be of interest for people in Germany itself. This makes a British publication kind of irrelevant when reporting about certain bands and to a large extent here we put a kibosh on writing about them. Why do bands not want to communicate in English? It’s fair enough to have your own identity and express it thusly in the way you grew up and the way you speak but surely on your social media you would want to translate what you are all about so others interested in what you are doing have some knowledge about where you are coming from. Perhaps its stubbornness or maybe you simply don’t expect anyone outside your country of origin to be interested in you? Who knows it’s a difficult conundrum really but as we have said before metal and music is generally universal and you can get a sense of it no matter how it is expressed… shall we delve deeper?
Well with track titles translating to the likes of ‘Torment,’ Ignorance’ and ‘Refuge’ one gets the message that there could be something political about these “howling bastards”, unfortunately that is lost on me, we are at that language barrier again so I can’t dig deeper into that. The album starts with electronic sounds somewhat subtly and not overplayed until we arrive at the modus-operandi which is chunky jagged guitar grooves and a pretty tribal beat. I have found info comparing this lot to Valborg, Moonspell and Fudge Tunnel but can’t hear any of that in the slightest; I guess throwing the name of one of the biggest Portuguese metal bands into the mix and hoping it will stick is a form of desperation on a band that are slightly difficult to categorise. For me though this is much more in the vein of Sepultura with some left-over ideas from Fear Factory and Ministry and an expressive vocal delivery that with the aforementioned language is reminiscent of Brujeria. That said this is not quite as angry or forceful of any of these bands but the main thing here is that songs are varied enough and enjoyable in a head nodding, toe tapping way. There’s some good solos, interesting keyboard variations and an occasional stomping beat with singer Hélder Raposo adding conviction and guttural energy from his parts.
A couple of elements stick out such as a sudden inclusion of orchestral sounds (‘Eterno Returno’) amidst the rolling tumult and some unexpected clean vocal parts (‘Miasma’) and a sense of traditionalism in the music giving it a bit of a commercial sheen but not in a divisive sense that spoils the music for those enjoying the harder elements. Yep, I have enjoyed this on the whole but have to wonder if it were not for it being sent out by a hard working Portuguese PR would it have been picked up and heard in the UK in the first place? I guess if you are reading about it here and like the sound of what I am wittering about the job is partly done but we are just a minute splash in an ocean of music and to get anywhere Uivo Bastardo have a mountain to climb if they do indeed want any sense of their music spreading further afield. As for where the album title fits in, I’m still completely lost on that one.
(7/10 Pete Woods)