Introducing: USQUAM

French collective USQUAM offer up intoxicating, vicious blackened death metal melodies that will penetrate your soul in a sound that they describe as “dark, melodic and powerful.”

USQUAM started out as the solo project of Alwan, who continued to lay the musical foundations working with various other musicians from across France, including guitarist Draugr and vocalist L.H. But the band as a concept continues to include the work of other guitarists, lyricists and keyboard players.

And on the sound they’ve honed, Alwan tells us: “It’s music both worked in terms of arrangements, but also accessible. There is a will of effectiveness since it’s music with mosh parts and melodies that remain in your head.”

Our first taste of this is the band’s debut EP Reborn, which was released last week through Wormholedeath Records. On it, Alwan told us: “This EP was released in self-production this summer. The reception is really good for those who had access to it, but until now the distribution has been quite confidential. We hope that our signature on the WormHoleDeath label will bring us much better exposure to make our music known to a much larger audience. If you don’t know it: listen to the title track Reborn. If you don’t like it: go back and listen to Katy Perry!!”

We see no need whatsoever to go and listen to Katy Perry (at any time, ever), as Reborn gives us a great taste of an excellent EP. It opens up with atmospheric instrumentals led by a darting riff, which explodes into a huge barrage of wild drums, guitars and vicious vocals. A piercing guitar lick jumps in over the top to further increase the intensity before dropping into a more mellow section that develops into a delicious guitar solo.

The pace increases with a fun riff and pounding drums, which continue as the vicious vocals return and are replaced by slightly haunting gothic backing vocals. Check it out in the stream here:

A personal favourite track from the EP is the superb Hail To Mars, which flies straight into a piercing lick over huge booming drums. Intense vocals take over, supported by stabbing guitars and unrelenting drums, which flow into another piercing lick. That gives way to an atmospheric gothic-sounding section and more melodic instrumentals before dropping into big chugging guitars and intense vocals. Then delicious stabbing guitars and screeches of guitar support growled vocals before descending into absolute chaos with a wild guitar solo. Check it out here:

There’s plenty more where that came from on this intense EP, including the superb second track Drawn To Death and the especially dark but strangely beautiful final track Tempus Edax Rerum that develops into an amazing guitar solo, which you can check out below:

The USQUAM sound has been heavily influenced by black metal legends like Behemoth, Dissection, Emperor, Dimmu, Dark funeral, Deicide, Carcass, Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, as well as classic bands like Iron Maiden.

And on what inspires their music, Alwan tells us: “It is music that allows me to evacuate – a little – my dark part. There is a therapy side to it. The writing is entirely based on emotions and feelings. It’s not a bunch of riffs one after the other: the tracks tell real stories in a textual or musical way.

“The themes are complex to explain, I invite you to read them and make your own interpretation because there are several levels of reading. The next album should be entirely based on a philosophical concept, there will be a lot to say!”

There’s plenty more to come from USQUAM, including live shows and more new music. As Alwan explains: “For the gigs, we want to propose a real scenic concept. We are thinking about that right now. Again, the idea is not to copy what all the other bands do, but to really make our own way!

“An album is in preparation. It’s a long process since a lot of music has been composed and there is a lot of sorting and arranging to be done to produce a much more ambitious album based on a philosophical, visual and musical concept.

“Our singer is also working on a release with his band Aryoch and his project Erocis. On my side, I also have a ‘post-metal’ band with which I would like to explore a completely different universe.”

You can follow USQUAM on Facebook and Instagram, and check out their music on Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud and YouTube. And check out more new bands like USQUAM through their label Wormholedeath Records.

Listen to USQUAM and more new music on our spotify playlists GigRadar Core and GigRadar Metal

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