The very rare occasions post has arrived during lockdown has been much appreciated and the timing was certainly perfect as far as Uprising are concerned a German one-man outfit with themes of decency and class discontent complete with a plague mask figure adorning the CD. The label very kindly sent debut album Uprising I along with the new one which came out in 2016, a 2 track demo ‘A Lesson In Human Empathy’ being the bridge between the albums. The covers and art have strong identity with fantastically designed tableaux of medieval battle which illustrate just how far class war as such stretches back. Looking at the second album in particular amidst execution and torture of the proletariat there is a pike being thrust at a kingly figure and a religious character with a short sword pointed at his throat. Despite this musically and thematically we often find ourselves in the contemporary as certain songs will clearly illustrate along the way.
Uprising is the sole work of Anti-capitalist, Anti-Religious and Anti-fascist musical crusader W aka Winterherz also known for his work with Scarcross and band on the ascent Waldgeflüster. The first album proves to be a very proficient one and a good introduction to his craft. It’s first message states “the world is made of wolves and sheep with one devouring the other. It’s always been that way and nothing’s ever changed.” The ideology cannot be disputed and the music shows a lot of barraging force and anger along with deep-rooted melodicism and atmosphere. Good though it is, a few years show an improvement upon musical ability as well as production and album II definitely take’s things up a notch. After a brief and ominous opening with spoken words professing what sounds like a dire warning we are flung headlong into “There’s No Such Thing As Hope’ delivered on a hoary-blood-thirsty growl and cleaving guitar weave before settling into a melodic cut and thrust which in the face of nihilistic narrative is really quite affirming.
Vocals are really multi-dimensional and although clean rather than indistinguishable or cookie cutting have plenty of buoyancy via hollered out parts and gravid roars which along with the lyrics in the booklet have you following along and as far as I am concerned in complete agreement. We had ‘Uprise’ on album I and here we have part II complete with a woodcut style picture in booklet of a farmer working the land, fork and fist held high in a “martial cry” of rebellion. Flaying guitars strip the capitalist skin off things and vocal harmonies and cleverly placed samples along with strong melody makes this a track enriched with the spirit of insurrection. As a listener I would expect these sort of flavours from Anarcho Punk and although we do occasionally get proud and defiant anti-fascist black metal it’s not always as authentic sounding as this and strikes as a bit of a watered down product often going into parody and musically letting the listener down. Uprising along with the likes of Dawn Ray’d are the rare flip-side of the coin and even if the message here is not for you (although it should be) you could certainly just enjoy on musical merits.
Absolute rage and vitriol are spat out on the fast and furious ‘A Lesson In Basic Human Empathy’ the words “You can fuck off you cunt” unmistakable amidst the raw clattering, steely carnage of the music. I noted on the first album and a couple of tracks here that when guitars fly off into a near vortex of destruction that things are slightly reminiscent of Inquisition. Sorry to mention the fallen from favour in the same breath as the good intentions displayed here but… The giddy ride continues on ‘Monuments’ with fast and furious tremolo picking and thundering drums. Plenty of passion here, the background chants giving me the same sort of feeling as one would get from the likes of Fen and Winterfylleth on this ode to the monuments “our passing won’t destroy.” ‘The Iron Eagles Still Fly’ is no cheesy Saxon or Motorhead cover it’s far more serious and is about Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashing in 2019 shortly after take-off and resulting in the loss of all 157 on board. Calling the still under investigation accident nothing short of “murder” W is absolutely enraged here that it happened and anger and sadness tinge this tribute in equal measures making it quite a harrowing listen. Complete with some Emperor like riffs and a splash of Anaal Nathrakh etched harmonics amidst the speeding cleave and shouts of “you knew, fuck you” aimed straight at Boeing it’s both a stand-out track and a sadly surprising subject matter to find ourselves flung into via the medium of black metal. The finale ‘Radical Decency’ blazes forth and delivers another message over an epic 9 minutes. It’s a confrontational diatribe, one that is very much a call to arms and is delivered with grit and unwavering determination on an album that will impress those willing to peel back the layers and sit up and listen. I can’t really fault this on music or methodology and am already anticipating where Uprising will take things next. For these reasons you should obviously check this refreshingly themed album out at the very first opportunity via the links below.
(8/10 Pete Woods)