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Ursular – Preta
|July 21, 2023||OMN Label Services / Fuga|
|Album | Vinyl/CD/Digital||38:32 | 4 tracks|
Preta (Sanskrit: प्रेत) describes a state of the soul between its body’s death and the step to next step towards reincarnation. In beliefs such as Buddhism, Hinduism, or Taoism, that Preta soul – the hungry ghost – is undergoing pain and suffering of intensity unknown to human beings. Being thirsty and hungry especially, Preta is often translated to as Hungry Ghost. During this episode, it is the soul’s family’s and surrounding’s duty to undertake certain rituals to guide it towards the next stage. Preta is also the name of Berlin’s Saxodoom band Ursular’s long awaited debut album. The German quartet draws parallels between the old South and East Asian beliefs and modern-day society. Thus, the Preta becomes a soul that wanders on Earth, part dead, part looking for solace. Seeking to saturate their endless hunger, the hungry ghosts stuff themselves with goods and satisfaction.
Violence, Fear and Temptations
Music-wise, Preta contains plenty of elements from Heavy Psychedelic Rock and Doom Metal, although Ursular present a rather unorthodox approach towards the apocalyptical sounds. That is not even predominantly due to the dominant saxophone played by vocalist Babette. Ursular create a chilly and gloomy atmosphere that drifts above the album’s narrative like an inauspiciously tempest. Heavy riffing with progressive twists, dark psychedelia, atmospheric song structures, and vocals that are thrilling and soothing simultaneously define this overwhelming soundscape. Driven by cinematic arcs of suspense, Ursular tell the narrative of the hungry ghosts in four chapters. They tell of waking up from a smug dream of love (Siren), of sexual violence and the stigmata involved (Malediction). Further, Preta concerns fears and chasms in the world around and inside ourselves (Livores), and of lifeless but powerful creatures (Golem).
Forever Hungry, Forever Doomed
Four tracks, each of them between eight and twelve minutes. They tell four uncanny tales which are highly relatable to people living in our post-modern times. Always hungry, never satisfied – whether it is love, affection, food, consumerism or hedonism, we wander on this doomed planet. Furthermore, the discrepancy between inner peace and external impacts plays a crucial role here, especially when this entropy gets disrupted. Acts of violence, as depicted in Malediction disrupts the balance between the worlds while society’s forces accelerate this disruption by adding further blame and shame upon the victims. In this world, a sentient being can turn into stone, can become a hard-shelled sculpture to protect the fragile or broken soul inside that shell.
Restless and Unstoppable
Ursular’s Preta is a flawless and perfectly self-consistent album. Consistent, coherent, compelling: this four-track release is a monolith of a longplayer. Ursular have officially joined the rally for album of the year.
All pictures by courtesy of Noisolution
Artwork by Eric Sepsyz