Album: For Property and Profit
Release Date: February 24, 2023
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I wanted to cover this single for three reasons:
1.) Because I needed to share this incredible album art with the world.
2.) Because its a damn good track that deserves your attention and adoration.
3.) Because it has a powerful message and discusses some very real issues that affect a great many people on a daily basis.
I’ll be upfront with you, I don’t know much about the black metal scene in Pittsburgh, but if Úzkost are an indicator of what is going on over there, then I have really been missing out. It shouldn’t surprise me though, as the Rust Belt has a tendency to churn out a surprising number of underground gems and every now and then I’m lucky enough to stumble across one of them. Luckily for me during a podcast interview with Tom from UK extreme metal act Allfather (episode airing soon), he was kind enough to introduce me to the project, of which he is a big fan.
Úzkost come into this track holding nothing back, for the majority of its duration its simply an all-out assault on the listener. I always appreciate when RABM bands deliver music with this kind of raw biting rage and conviction. The track hits with an intensity that is driven by righteous fervor generated by anger, frustration and a burning sense of injustice. The motivation behind the writing of the track is explained by the artist as:
“Written as a response to the continued oppression and brutality of the police in the United States. Police aggression, brutality, and profiling disproportionately affects Black and Brown communities. This song is dedicated to my aunt Bonnie and will be released on the 21st anniversary of her murder and subsequent cover-up by the police. Defund & abolish.”
As soon as you read this message the single art and title suddenly make a lot more sense. They aren’t just cool, edgy interesting elements to grab the listener’s attention, they’re all tools used by the artist to convey a very real message. Black metal, doom metal and sludge are merely the mediums that Úzkost has chosen to use, but they are not the substance of the track itself. Just as these are mediums, the song’s raw shrieked rapid-fire vocals, oppressive dissonance, furious riffing, pummeling drums and moments of unsettling atmosphere are all tools used within these mediums. If these are in fact tools, then I think it’s safe to say that the band are masters of their craft, as they wield these tools with a refined expertise that many strive for but do not achieve.
I feel as if this song captures many of the elements that make for authentic black metal, truly capturing the genre’s essence. By that I mean that it conveys a raw sense of negative emotion, in this case rage and sorrow. It contains a high level of violence sonically, lyrically, and visually. It conveys an ethos of rebellion against authority and a rejection of societal norms. I’m sure that there will be these that will disagree with me on this, saying something about it not being anti-religious, or satanic enough or evil or depressive enough. However, I feel as if this is viewing an incredibly diverse and broad ranging genre through a very narrow lens.
Overall, I highly recommend that any fans of black metal and/or politically charged music take a few minutes out of their day and listen to the single and watch the official video below. I’m telling you right now that Úzkost is a band that we should all be keeping an eye on, I can see them making some real waves in the scene.
Listen to and order the album: