Urushiol’s baffling death metal can eat away at psyches, destroy realities on ‘Pools of Green Fire’

Usually, I come into these stories with a plan. Not necessarily a great plan, but a plan nonetheless. Today is an exception because there’s no way to prepare for something you can’t even properly define to yourself, so how are you supposed to do with in 600 words to help other people decipher when you cannot? Well, at least it made for some unconventional thinking for a change.

There is very little I can say about “Pools of Green Fire,” the debut offering from Urushiol, that’ll even make any sense. This project, the creation of Yellow Eyes bassist Alexander DeMaria, is fucked up in a way we have not approached before. The label experimental death metal has been affixed by some to this album, and sure, why not? I guess in the most simplistic terms, that’s what it is. The music actually reminded me of Jeff VanderMeer’s The Southern Reach Trilogy and the defacing of nature into some warped form in Area X where you know you recognize the terrain, but it looks like something even the most deranged of dreams could not envision. This record likely isn’t best consumed by anyone on the brink of panic or by listeners easily jarred by strange and deformed melodies. This record is a task, one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed even as I’ve tried to defend my psyche. Good enough? OK, let’s go.  

“Phase Lock” starts with warped chirps of deranged nature that ravaged and twisted by some cosmic force, and then the song storms open. The guitar work is absolutely insane, sounding almost like someone rapid fire playing a theremin (it’s like that for almost the entire album), and the power is uncompromising. The whole thing encircles and forces you to confront your own madness, the zaniness amplifies dangerously, and things fold and mash, bleeding out into terror. “Pillars of Red Smoke” delivers what can only be called cursed riffs, vocals that tangle your brain, and a relentless pace that challenges your stability. The drums savage, and the music starts to feel like a mental chemical burn, the guitars stagger, and the pressure mounts, ending in wild pressure.

“Iridescent Darkness” delivers swelling guitars that search the surroundings, daring and racing to who the fuck knows where. Guitars shriek as the growls are buried in hell, things get speedy and spacey, and things keep eating away, spitting fire and ending in craziness. “Curved Air” bludgeons and scars, while the bass clobbers and sends jolts down your spine. Beastly howls pound you as the guitars zap and hypnotize, and the pace speeds and warps, adding to your confusion. The assault blisters as things get even more bizarre, the shrieks pelt your skull, and the noise whips into unexplored alien terrain. The title track ends the record, jabbing and lathering, instantly putting you to the test. The strangeness collects like a slime, and the howls reverberate inside your brain, increasing the anxiety. The drums pummel as the playing gets even more impossible, sucking you into a sound halo that removes you from this world.

I’m not sure the words above can accurately or competently describe “Pools of Green Fire,” the debut offering from Urushiol. It’s easily one of the most baffling death metal records you ever will hear, hyperbole intended, and even after several visits, I still can’t make heads or tails of this thing. Is it here to intimidate? Haunt? Taunt? All of the above? This is a hectic and psychotic display almost impossible to put into word. At least not human words.  

For more on the band or to buy the album, go here: https://urushiol.bandcamp.com/album/pools-of-green-fire

For more on the label, go here: https://augurtongues.bandcamp.com/

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