Uzeda Stella

Full of anguish and post-punk muscle-flexing, Stella is a beautiful and intimidating creation by Sicily’s Uzeda. While noted engineer Steve Albini always leaves a mark on his recordings, it’s remarkable how enunciated his presence is on this dark, disturbing album. On "Wailing,” vocalist Giovanna Cacciola torments her song as much as she sings it, bringing Diamanda Galás and David Yow to mind with her evocative, emotional cries. The tension she creates throughout the record is bolstered by Agostino Tilotta, whose slithering guitar lines and otherworldly tone are certain descendents of Albini’s work in Big Black and Shellac. "What I Meant When I Called Your Name” treads into June of ’44 territory in form and sound thanks to the booming rhythms created by bassist Raffaele Gulisano and drummer Davide Oliveri. "From The Book of Skies” again sounds like Shellac fronted by PJ Harvey, while "Gold” recalls the Jesus Lizard. Just comparisons aside, Uzeda have absorbed the best influences to create Stella, an uncompromisingly biting assault. (Touch and Go)