The Black Heart Album
Released 23rd October 2015
“Gothic” Power Metal/Progressive Metal/ Experimental Crossover
Released via Hänsel & Gretel Records, a division of M.I.G-Music Gmb
The Black Heart Album’ is the second release from the Danish Gothic power metal band Ureas. It is the follow-up to their debut album ‘The Naked Truth’. The band was founded back in 2006 by the husband and wife team Heidi and Per Johansson.
Ureas’s style is rather difficult to classify and the term “Gothic power metal” can be very misleading. These days it seems that any melodic metal band with a female singer will be labeled as “Gothic” or a Nightwish-clone even though it might not have anything to do with either the band or the genre. For those expecting another Nightwish-clone, prepare to be disappointed (or relieved). I can safely say that Ureas has very little in common with the world-renowned fantasy metal band. For one thing they have actually two singers; both Heidi and Per contribute an equal amount when it comes to the vocals. Whether they are singing on their own or as a duet, they both leave their mark on each song. Secondly, the power metal elements account for only a small fraction of a wide variety of styles present on this album.
The Gothic element comes from Heidi’s angelic and melodic voice, which contrasts the harsher and more aggressive vocals of her husband. Oh, by “melodic” and “angelic” I don’t mean operatic but rather soft and innocent sounds akin to early Within Temptation. Seven Deadly Sins is a good example of how well they work together to create a song that is memorable for all the right reasons. That particular track has a fairly simple construction: uplifting and playful, power metal -esque guitar riffs, symphonic keyboards, melodic female vocals and the brawny sounds of Mr. Johansson.
If only they stuck to the same style throughout the album I would have been happy. Alas but no. What comes next is the jaw-dropping abomination that is the title track, which sounds as though Jonathan Davis from Korn started rapping to groove metal playing in the background. Luckily Seal This Moment marks a return to the more familiar (and in all honesty better) Gothic power metal style. This particular song is more complex and progressive-sounding than ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ but it still captures that lovely symbiosis of the two vocal styles. Sadly my relief is short lived for it is not long until these guys start experimenting again. The subsequent tracks feature everything from lullabies, groove metal guitars, techno/electronica and Shut The Fuck Up – a cringe-worthy nu-metal track with highly unimaginative lyrics consisting of mostly swear words.
To conclude, I think that the best words to sum to my thoughts on this album would be “confusing” and “inconsistent”. At times they sound like a completely different band. Some songs are decent but on the whole it feels as though Ureas are not sure as to which style they want to focus on.