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Metal bands often compare their sound to the elements -- raging fire, cracking thunder -- but Uada are one of the few bands with the tunes to back that claim up. Never mind that the Portland black metallers look like a horde of executioners’ ghosts in their hoods, draped hair, and jet-black outfits -- it’s their songs that make them sound like fog incarnate. The band’s haunting guitars, groaned vocals, and booming drums provide all the ambience of a bed of moss in a looming cave. The recurring theme running through their albums, 2016’s Devoid Of Light and this year’s Cult Of A Dying Sun, is clear enough in their titles: the power and comfort of darkness in all its forms.
“There has always been a magnetic pull to the dark, it is within us all,” says guitarist and vocalist Jake Superchi. “Most things dark are just things that are misunderstood. The magick, energy and spirituality put into Uada are from a point of understanding rather than trying to fit a certain mold. Escaping the everyday noise that is controlling the minds of man helps to clear the mind and allow messages and images to be transmuted without interference. The universe will reveal itself when you're ready to accept it, and for whatever reason I feel blessed to be able to channel it.”
The response is lofty, but the band backs it up. Though the faces of Uada's members can be seen in their other musical projects, they remain stalwart in appearing and performing hooded as a band. Their videos are beautifully-shot depictions of mountainside witchcraft. And though modern black metal often feels divided into either right-hand-path brute satanism or intellectual experimentation, Uada firmly straddle the line between the two, paying homage to both the history of European black metal and the sonic legacy of their own home in the Pacific Northwest.
“I have always enjoyed artists that could offer up a unique sound while not straying away from their influences,” says Jake. “Peter Steele and Type O Negative were a big influence that opened my doors to the darker side of music when discovering them in the mid-’90s. Of course bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest & early Metallica were on heavy rotation at the time. But eventually that road lead me to find bands like Dissection, Mercyful Fate, The Sisters Of Mercy and so on. All of these mixed in with the sincere pain and angst coming out of Seattle, with bands like Nirvana and Alice In Chains, really shaped a feeling and influence that would expand with the years to come.”
Drawn inexorably toward the darkness, we reached out to Jake in an attempt to peer under the hoods and understand the band beneath.
1) If you had to play one Uada track to introduce a new listener to your music, what song would it be, and why?
We would choose Black Autumn, White Spring, because it carries all aspects and elements of the Uada sound. There are many twists and turns within the arrangement that showcase the different styles that make our sound what it is.
2) Who would be on Uada’s dream tour?
Every tour in a way is a dream tour. Although we make many sacrifices and put our bodies through hell each and every day, it really is a dream just to be able to achieve this sense or freedom, especially under a capitalist thumb. It isn't easy but it is rewarding in that we are earning our way, the real way. As far as other bands that would make up a dream tour, all I could say is any band that has ever influenced us to do what we do would make it just that.
3) How would you say Uada’s sound has evolved between Devoid Of Light and Cult Of A Dying Sun?
Naturally. Without straying away from the sounds of our first album we expanded the horizons without shifting too vast or quickly. The writing came without struggle and it was allowed to freely form. It is the only way.
4) How has being from Portland informed Uada’s music?
Living in the Pacific Northwest has had a great impact and influence. I have never lived in the city and never will, so the natural landscapes as well as the weather are what really influence the writing. There are many shades of grey and green that consistently alter moods. It is very gloomy here, but beautiful and majestic at the same time. The music tries to emulate that carrying a lot of somber undertones that one would feel living in this rainy region of the world. You could also say the wildlife is also an influence vocally. When out at night hiking, there are always sounds of coyotes, owls, elk and other beasts in the shadows. These are all influences that play a role in the creation and sound of Uada.
5) What inspired you to play hooded? Would you ever consider revealing your faces?
It is a statement against image and everything we hate in the music industry. Feeling that the genre of Black Metal had become a cliché of itself after all these years, the energy and spirit of the music seemed to take a back seat, and we wanted to put the emphasis back on the music and the art rather than ourselves or the idea of self. Art can only be free when it is deprived of ego so taking ourselves out of the equation was an easy decision. On our first day as a band, we looked to the sky to watch a blood moon eclipse happening overhead. That eclipse was a symbol that was taken extremely serious and put into effect within our approach.
Uada's Cult Of A Dying Sun is out now on Eisenwald. Order it here.
WORDS: Chris Krovatin