Usnea are a band from Portland, Oregon that plays a blackened form of funeral doom/death metal with elements of sludge and this is a review of their 2014 album "Random Cosmic Violence" which will be released in November by Relapse Records.
Dark sounding ambient drones start off the album along with some psychedelic noise elements and after awhile the music goes into a very slow and heavy funeral doom/sludge metal direction along with some high pitched black metal screams and death metal growls and you can also hear a decent amount of dark sounding melodies in the bands musical style.
When solos and leads are added into the music they bring in a very dark, distorted and melodic sound onto the recording and after awhile spoken word ritualistic parts can be heard in certain sections of the recording along with all of the musical instruments having a very powerful sound to them and the band also brings in clean parts at times and all 4 of the tracks are very long and epic in length and you can hear a lot of the 90's doom/death metal style in the way the band plays their instruments while the sludge elements gives the album a more up to date feeling.
On the title track acoustic guitars are added into the song and they also add a stoner and classic rock vibe to the music along with some clean singing being added in after a few seconds and they are only used briefly before the music makes a return back to a heavier direction along with the music speeding up at times and adding in elements of blackened death metal while the acoustic guitars do make a return on the last track.
Usnea plays a very heavy style of sludge that brings in the heaviness of funeral doom, the occult atmosphere of black metal and the darker side of death metal, the production sound s very dark and heavy while the lyrics cover darkness, occultism and dystopian themes.
In my opinion Usnea are a very great sounding mixture of black metal, sludge, funeral doom and death metal and if you are a fan of those musical genres, you should check out this band. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Lying In Ruin" and "Detritus". 8 out of 10.