I, VOIDHANGER RECORDS
PRESENTS

 




        



UMBAH
ENTER THE DAGOBAH CORE

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FORMAT:
CD    CATALOG N. IVR-008

 

1. Whispers Of A Dying Sun - Part I (3:07)
 
2. Bolderok Naron (3:23)
3. Temple Bar (3:35)
4. Dr. Geiger (6:09)
5. Enter The Dagobah Core (4:02)
6. Hypnotic Implant (3:34)
7. Cosmic Garland (3:13)
8. Mad Zu Chong (5:59)
9. Oberon Tales (4:43)
10. Rackborn Skin Expulsion (4:20)
11. Serokate Fornion (4:26)
12. Zombinods (4:26)
13. Whispers Of A Dying Sun - Part II (2:47)

Total time 54:44

Jewelcase CD
12-page full color booklet

Released February 11th, 2012

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"Enter The Dagobah Core" is the new and boldest example of UMBAH's techno-organic metal. The industrial death/grind of the past has gone through a new synaptic revolt, upgraded to the next level of iconoclasm and creativity, transfigured into something else by harsh electronics, jazz-tinged arrangements and dark, schizophrenic melodies.
This is a revolution.
The future sounds of extreme metal, today.

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BUY NOW AT OUR STORE

Born in 1990 by the will of Cal Scott, once guitarist for UK's death/grind act Necrosanct, UMBAH is the metal equivalent of the indecipherable nightmares of an alien computer-god with serious mental illness and destructive appetites.
"I compute, therefore I am", he repeats to himself while he deletes with a simple gesture what's left of the human race: a file into a recycle bin, waiting for permanent erasure...
Only partially assimilable to other sonic extremists like Cephalic Carnage, Obscura, The Berzerker, Meshuggah, Fear Factory and Skinny Puppy, UMBAH speaks with its own voice. Despite the countless albums behind his back, Cal Scott's approach is still that of a space explorer. He ventures into unknown territories hungry with new experiences and discoveries, and not afraid of experimenting with complex mechanical textures and contaminated metal sounds.

Cal Scott : all instruments, vocals, and programming

      

THE FUTURE SOUNDS OF EXTREME METAL



 BOLDEROK NARON


      

UMBAH : DISCOGRAPHY


    
ALBUMS                                                                                              
   DEMOS
                                                                                              
ENTER THE DAGOBAH CORE
(I, Voidhanger Records, 2012)
TRILOBETH  (I, Voidhanger Records, 2010)
ARADROLOS 
(Self Released, 2009)                                                          SOLACITY ENTWINED  (Self released, 1995)
GRIMLOCK SARIS 
(Self released, 2006)                                                   INCURABLE COPPERTURNER  (Self released, 1992)
ALIEN BEAUTY  (Self released, 2004)                                                        OBLIVION CRIES  (Self released, 1990)
CANVASS  (Self released, 2003)
OCTUPI 
(Self released, 2002)
SLAIN 
(Self released, 2001)
OBLITICUS 
(Self released, 2000)
7 DAYS OF HORROR 
(Self released, 1999)
XOMINOD 
(Self released, 1998)
SOLARIS
  (Self released, 1997)                                                                 
UMBAH's whole back-catalogue is available in MP3 format at
CONTINUUM 
(Self released, 1996)      
                                                       http://www.umbah.co.uk/cybergrind/mp3z.htm

      

ENTER THE DAGOBAH CORE : REVIEWS



CHRONICLES OF CHAOS
Review by Chaim Drishner

_Enter the Dagobah Core_ is as fun as it is goofy; metallic as it is almost mainstream; wacky and psycho as it is almost conventional. Here, we could sum things up and move on. But Umbah's music must be at least described, if loosely, otherwise you wouldn't have a clue about what's going on here and whether you should be bothered by its existence. Really, you wouldn't have a clue...
This is metal par excellence, because it enlivens the core of metal's unwritten laws; the main ones would have to be: re-invent, excite, renew, create, experiment. Umbah does all that and more, going to lengths in order to prove it is worthy. The current sole member, Cal Scott (from the semi-legendary British death metal band Necrosanct), experiments with so many musical approaches, many of which are foreign to metal altogether (electronica in abundance, different high-pitched vocal approaches so of which are processed, popular music arrangements, some techno music innuendos, theatrical bits and pieces) your head could easily spin and equilibrium could be lost just listening to one track.
But here's the beauty: Cal Scott makes everything sound cohesive and related to everything else. The goofy parts are suddenly attacked by a ferocious blasting maelstrom, which in turn equalizes the cheesiness factor; the ridiculously melodramatic or emo-style vocals are abruptly clipped and make way to a metallic vitriol charged with death metal's aesthetics, and so on and so forth.
One will be dazzled, bewildered and stupefied listening to this album. Many heads will spin with the many plot twists here; twists so alien to each other, yet they combine perfectly resulting in what could only be the original vision of metal music. Anyone into metal with a severe, incurable ADHD syndrome, that is fun and extraordinary; people who love their metal charged with dichotomies, absurdities and experimental to the hilt without sounding too 'out-there'; aficionados of avantgarde done right or just those who are into bad-ass electronic music that's heavy and dynamic -- take heed. This candy of an album is for you, as it embodies so many of the genre's experimental forefathers (Atheist, Carnival in Coal, Nocturnus, Old Lady Drivers, Pan-Thy-Monium, to name only few) and pays homage to each and every one of that with the fullest respect, and yet delivers something that is so entirely singular you would be either jaw-dropped or vomit your dinner upon listening to this enigma. You will not be able, however, to stay apathetic. And that's the whole idea behind music...

[7 out of 10]

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HEATHEN HARVEST
Review by Skarsnik

If something deserves a special mention in the weird yet alluring section of my mind it is Umbah. The band consists of a certain Cal Scott hailing from that outer space known as the UK. Somehow this lunatic solely nails down the foundation for what can only be described as a hybrid of industrial metal and alien electronics with a touch of grindcore. The cover deserves special mention as the funky spawn of space on the front looks like something concocted in the minds of Gieger and Beksinski on acid. All in all Enter the Dagobah Core is an awesome experience that you either love or hate. Personally I have a hard time imagining anyone thinking this album is just ok or average but then again, somewhere there is always an exception.
The music of Umbah is intriguing to say the least. The albums takes of from Whispers Of A Dying Sun – Part I with a mixture of shredding thrash metals on top of morphing electronical bursts of weird sounds and structures. The album is quite chaotic in a few sections yet remains in enough shape to be coherent and the pure legion of sounds is astronomical. There is a certain quality to this music, like a cheerful undertone that flows through the whole album. The music is perhaps not as dark as it is harsh; the buzzing electro works fluently with the assault of guitars and drums. The vocals come in all different styles, from heavily distorted growls to clean harmonies and mechanized bursts of Lingua-technis. I find the pure variation of this album to be its strongest quality; each song feels like a new experience yet manages to tie the album together nicely. Songs such as Dr. Geiger, Hypnotic Implant and Bolderok Naron was the ones that stuck with me fastest, fast, furious and with that delicate line of dark electronic that really crown the chaos tied together. Enter the Dagobah Core is far from light entertainment. This is a challenging album that requires a lot from its listener. The album might come up as to chaotic the first listen through but after a while you find the thin line that ties the sections together and then the 8-bit chaos turns into something beautiful.
Before I heard Enter the Dagobah Core I had no knowledge of Umbah, a band that have apparently released 12 other albums, not including the demos. This is a sad thing that I intend to change with this review. Umbah really deserves more attention being one of the few really unique albums I have come upon lately. Even though this might be a bit much for the ordinary connoisseur of industrial metal to gobble down those with an open mind might find a journey well worth undertaking in the cybernetic havoc that is Umbah. So don’t take my words for it, go check out Enter the Dagobah Core. It is pure distilled space madness delivered raw you’re your enlightenment.
[4 out of 5]

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KRONOS MORTUS
Review by Morhguel

Brief sum: The thirteenth full-length album of the one-piece project Umbah shows a perfect example to the „extreme-wannabe” bands how to write an extremely diverse yet coherent album with great death metal riffs, outstanding vocals and awesome experimental work. An extraordinary and twisted trip from a really talented and underrated musician for the fans of unlabelable and mind-blowing music.

Annak ellenére, hogy az avantgarde death metal stílusban tevékenykedő Umbahnak az idei „Enter The Dagobah Core” már a 13. nagylemeze, engem eddig valahogy elkerült az Umbah munkássága. A 22 éve fennálló angol formáció mögött Cal Scott áll, aki a Necrosanct nevű death metal formációban kezdte gitáros-vokálos pályafutását, itt viszont mindenesként veszi ki a részét a zenealkotás folyamatában. Ezt a folyamatot pedig valahogy úgy tudnám elképzelni, hogy a technikásabb death metalt tagadhatatlanul kedvelő művész beül a házistúdiójába nem kevés LSD-vel és egyéb tudatmódosító szereket magához véve, ahol a gitárjával feljátszott témákat újragondolja a szintetizátorok, a keverőpult és a DJ-programok hiperkreatív használatával, majd ezt visszahallgatva – szinte transzba esve – elmebetegebbnél elmebetegebb hangokon üvölti, nyávogja, dalolja az amúgy sem köznapi szövegeket, amelyeket aztán vokálsávként használ fel. Persze ehhez nem is kell belehallgatni az albumba, elég csak ránézni a borítóra, aminél kifejezőbbet talán nem is lehetett volna készíteni ehhez a lemezhez.
Az album már rögtön az elején megcsillogtatja, hogy mire is számíthatunk, a gyors és technikás death metal riffek nyakon öntve egy nagy adag elektronikával és rengeteg experimentális elemmel, valamint kísérletező és sokszor agyoneffektezett vokállal. Így mindjárt az első dal olyan, mintha az újabb Morbid Angel és a Fear Factory házasságából született gyerek megpróbálna egy erősen Kekal atmoszférát előhívni nem kevés Kkoagulaa és Carnival In Coal felhanggal. Ez az eklektikusság azonban nem csak a hangszerek és zenei elemek használatában mutatkozik meg (ami a fent említett zenekarok alapján egyértelmű), azonban hogy az avantgarde jellegét erősítse a daloknak, a stílusokat is jelentősen keveri. Így a death metalt nem csak olyan elektronikus stílusokkal keveri, mint a drum and bass, a dub, a gothic industrial, az EBM, vagy mint például a „Bolderk Naron” című dalban a chiptune, hanem hallhatunk itt darkwave-et, industrial rockot, groove metalt, és persze nem kevés avantgarde-ot is.
Egy ilyen zenét persze általában fenntartásokkal kell kezelni, különösen, ha egy egyszemélyes projektről van szó, mivel gyakran válhatnak a dalok öncélúvá és túlságosan kísérletezővé, de ugyanúgy fulladhat unalomba is a lemez, ha nincsen semmi fogódzó. Szerencsére erről itt nincs szó, az Umbah szinte minden ponton sikerrel veszi az akadályokat. Az első és legfontosabb erénye az albumnak, hogy a rajta lévő death metalos riffek önmagukban is kiemelkedőek, megállnák a helyüket az elektronika nélkül is. A gyors témák leginkább a Morbid Angel riffjeire emlékeztetnek, de a groove-os hatások miatt felsejlik olykor a Dĺĺth neve is. Ha kissé rosszmájúak akarnánk lenni, akkor mondhatnánk azt is, hogy az Enter The Dagobah Core-nak sikerült az, ami az Illud Divinum Insanusnak csak részben, nevezetesen hogy a death metalt egy avantgarde-abb síkra tereljék, úgy, hogy a dalok és a bennük lévő riffek megőrizzék az anyastílus brutalitását és technikalitását. Mondom mindezt úgy, hogy én a Morbid Angel lemezét is kedvelem, de itt mind dalírás szempontjából, mind extremitás szempontjából jóval különlegesebb lett az összkép. Amit külön kiemelnék még, hogy sok hasonló zenekarnál gond szokott lenni az elektronika megszólalása, de ezen a lemezen ez hibátalanul van megoldva. A gépdoboknak van keménysége, a dubos warpok átszakítják a mélynyomót, és a ritmikai elemek összhangban vannak a hangzás egészével, nem nyomják agyon a többi hangszert, de nem is szorulnak háttérbe. Az egyetlen problémám a lemezzel mégis a hullámzó hangzás, különösen a gitárokkal akad probléma, és azok hangerejével, illetve „szélességével”. A hangszín ugyanis rendben van, de néha teljesen a szélre vannak téve a gitársávok, ami olykor picit zavaró, illetve nem minden effektnek – és ez nem csak a gitárokra vonatkozik – van egyforma hangereje, ami miatt hasonló problémába ütközünk, mint anno az Ygodeh bemutatkozó EP-jével (amihez hasonló megoldásokat egyébként is találhatunk a lemezen).
Azt hiszem, aki eddig elolvasta a beszámolót, legalább azt el tudja dönteni, hogy meg meri-e kockáztatni ennek a lemeznek a befogadását, amely – fogós dalok ide vagy oda – azért nem megy olyan könnyen. Egy-két slágeresebb témát leszámítva ugyanis annyira rétegzett zenével van dolgunk, ami megterheli az emberek hallójáratait, az 50 perc feletti játékidőről nem is beszélve. Sőt, még abban is biztos vagyok, hogy a zenei ínyenceket is meg fogja osztani a lemez, ugyanis el kell ismerni, hogy vannak azért olyan megoldások, amelyeket már hallottunk máshol. Ezt leszámítva a kimagasló vokálteljesítmény, a komplexitás, kísérletezés és progresszivitás érett módon de azért bőkezűen való használata, valamint a lemez bizarr atmoszférája magasan kiemeli az átlagos albumok sorából az „Enter The Dagobah Core”-t.
[9 out of 10]

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SPIRIT OF METAL
Review by Matai

On peut trouver des révélations lŕ oů on ne les attend pas. Et c'est pourtant au début des années 1990 que Cal Scott, guitariste du remarqué mais défunt groupe Necrosanct, crée son projet solo qu'il nomme Umbah et le moins que l'on puisse dire, c'est que le monsieur a su rester prolifique, avec pas moins de treize albums au rythme de quasiment un album par an. Dommage toutefois que le manque de médiatisation ne lui ait pas permis de réellement faire part de son projet, car il est clair que le Britannique a plus d'une corde ŕ son arc depuis le temps.
En effet, Cal a su garder ses origines death/grind pour les mélanger ŕ la touche progressive et expérimental de Cynic ou Meshuggah et ŕ l'indus/cyber de Fear Factory, pour ne citer qu'eux. Il faut dire que le mélange de tout cela reste assez inattendu, dans la mesure oů les styles précités ne sont pas les seuls ŕ se côtoyer au sein de la musique d'Umbah, qui met aussi en valeur des touches jazzy ou dark.
Il n'est, en définitive, pas si facile de décrire le metal de Cal Scott qui joue avec les sonorités et expérimente beaucoup. Depuis pas mal d'années maintenant, le multi instrumentiste joue avec ses auditeurs tout en proposant des albums bien tordus et tous aussi différents les uns que les autres. Malheureusement, leur côté difficile d'accčs ne les rend pas spécialement accessibles ŕ tous, d'autant plus que l'évolution du monsieur s'est avéré ętre en dent de scie. Pourtant ces derničres années, il semblerait qu'il se soit stabilité, avec des «Trilobeth» et «Aradrolos» bien inspirés, et enfin, ce «Enter the Dagobah Core», dont le nom évoque la plančte marécageuse de Yoda.
Umbah officie donc dans un cyber/death/grind archi tordu et expérimental dont le côté barré pourrait rappeler le projet Oxiplegatz. Cet album – ainsi que les autres - n'est pas ŕ confier ŕ toutes les oreilles. En effet, dans tout le cyber metal existant, Umbah fait partie des groupes les plus difficiles ŕ appréhender tant il se démarque des formations actuelles tirant vers l'électronique ŕ outrance ou la djent attitude. En clair, si vous avez du mal avec l'extręme, expérimental de surcroît, vous aurez beaucoup de mal ŕ vous passer cet album.
Ce qu'on remarque de prime abord, c'est l'apparente cacophonie des morceaux, comme dčs le début avec «Whispers of a Dying Sun Pt.1» ou «Bolderok Naron» : un assemblage tordu de riffs, de sons électroniques, de rythmes et de voix. Męme si cela peut paraître aussi étrange qu'incongru, il faut dire qu'il s'agit d'une cacophonie subtile et non pas d'un mélange d'effets bruitistes simplement fait pour démonter les oreilles de l'auditeur. Prenez le côté cacophonique de Sigh, par exemple, et vous saurez de quoi je parle. C'est beaucoup plus réfléchi que ça en a l'air, et heureusement, sinon les albums ne seraient pas aussi intéressants. D'ailleurs, on peut męme dire que ça renforce l'aspect mécanique et inhumain des compositions, qui ne donnent pas l'impression d'avoir été créées par un homme. L'empreinte cybernétique est omniprésente, soutenue par des claviers électroniques destabilisant et une ambiance irrémédiablement froide et sombre. Un certain arričre goűt d'acier se męle ŕ un aspect technologique afin de relever les influences futuristes et transhumanistes d'Umbah, comme sur un «Enter the Dagobah Core» ou un «Hypnotic Implant» souvent robotiques avec ces voix déformées et ses riffs techniques et trčs spécifiques.
Évidemment, Cal Scott n'oublie pas ses débuts extręme dans Necrosanct et la majeure partie des titres restent assez violents et agressifs, un cyberr/death bien dosé oů les riffs dévastateurs se mélangent aux growls trčs efficaces du monsieur, comme sur «Cosmic Garland», entre autres. Ce n'est pas du cyber pour les petites natures mais un cyber bien méchant et pessimiste, bien plus vicieux que ID:Vision, par exemple. Si ce genre se veut extręme par définition, il l'est encore plus quand il passe entre les mains de Cal Scott.
Il y a tout de męme des éléments plus modernes, tels que des touches jazzy, comme évoqué plus haut, ou des touches plus mathématiques, comme le soulignent les influences Meshuggah. «Mad Zu Chong» met en place une certaine polyrythmie couplée ŕ des parties plus techniques, toujours embarquée par cette électronique sans faille. Répétitif, tout de męme. A contrario, «Dr. Geiger» se verra plus progressif dans son approche, avec une touche symphonique sur certains passages.
«Enter the Dagobah Core» est une bonne entrée en matičre, si vous ętes familiarisés au cyber et au metal extręme et trčs expérimental. Cal Scott et Umbah offrent un album trčs difficile d'accčs, moi-męme étant trčs adepte du style, j'ai eu beaucoup de mal ŕ l''écouter avant de le cerner. Il faut donc du temps pour saisir ces treize morceaux tous aussi étranges les uns que les autres, pas toujours excellents, mais ayant le mérite d'embarquer l'auditeur dans une machine vicieuse et électronique.
[15 out of 20]

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INFERNAL MASQUERADE
Review by Dark Emperor

Umbah is one of those bands that sounds like a bunch of meth heads playing around with instruments and samples, but funny enough some of ‘their’ stuff is actually enjoyable. “Enter the Dagobah Core” marks the band’s 13th release and it surely is a very weird and chaotic one. We can’t really say it’s bad because it actually has plenty of sections that are quite entertaining and interesting to listen to, but we can’t really say is also something that mainstream music listeners will enjoy.
“Whispers of a Dying Sun part I” delivers a pretty clear statement of what is to come: either open your mind of fuck off. This song is quite convoluted and crazy, but underneath the madness there is some weird sense of melody that intrigued us (enough to keep listening). “Bolderok Naron” and “Tample Bar” have a hint of Marilyn Manson meets Merzbow meets video game music, quite disturbing but equally intoxicating.
Going throw some very weird and unconventional songs “Dr. Geiger”, “Enter The Dagobah Core”, “Hypnotic Implant” and “Cosmic Garland” feel more ‘cracked out’ than normal. There are tons of weird samples, pummeling riffs, shrieks, clean electro-pop like vocals, and countless other different things that make each song quite unique.
The industrial influences are quite present in tracks like “Mad Zu Chong” and “Serokate Fornion” making them a bit more accessible for everybody else, but they are still quite different a totally random at times. The clean vocals on songs like “Whispers of a Dying Sun part II”, are quite a shock for a release like this, but then again, it is Umbah we are talking about.
Trying to understand a band like Umbah is probably impossible, however some of ‘their’ (one man project band) music is actually quite original and interesting to listen to. Many ideas come and fly and some not so popular ones are the ones that stick the longest. Cal Scott is a talented guitar player and has some good idea here and there, but feels like everything revolves around his head quite quickly and the creation of something fully cohesive is quite impossible… or then again it is just Umbah’s traditional style.
[82 out of 100]

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ARISTOCRAZIA
Review by ticino1

Che approccio mostrare quando si vuole scrivere un articolo riguardante una formazione death con tendenze industrial? Quando poi questa si sforza di sortire da ogni canone possibile, come trovare un appoggio su una parete tanto difficile e irta?
Gli Umbah ci invitano a entrare con "Whispers Of A Dying Sun, Part I", traccia trascinante all’inizio che si rivela poi essere molto complessa e ostica da seguire. La ritmica avvincente e l’elettronica si legano a formare una struttura complicata che alla fine si mostra meno aspra del previsto. Inserti jazz completano questa trama difficile. Sorpresa… il secondo pezzo sfonda quasi nel melodico e ostenta alcune linee di voce chiara. Una conversazione di giochi vocali inizia il suo corso accompagnato da trame musicali astruse, ludiche e piacevoli. Sembrerň profano… questi musicisti di Brighton paiono a volte voler rendere omaggio ai Prodigy della prima ora con le loro astrusitŕ coerenti. Una granata di varietŕ segue l’altra incalzante come mai. Ciň non vuol dire che le canzoni siano tutte mantenute sullo stesso livello ritmico, no. Senza accorgervene passerete dalla velocitŕ all’ossessiva ripetizione strisciante. La tecnica strumentale č elevata, cosě come quella compositiva. Questi due fattori non vi daranno tempo di meditare su cosa verrŕ o su quello che avete giŕ sentito. L’elettronica non č solo un pezzo a lato ma parte integrante del tutto. Come detto sopra, il miscuglio č riuscito e qualche volta irritante come in "Enter The Dagobah Core" che, con il suo inizio quasi minimale, sconvolge l’ascoltatore sprofondato nel suono, prima di drogarlo con "Hypnotic Implant", traccia quasi… trance. Trance? Sě, ma solo fino al punto in cui l’industrial e il metallo prendono il sopravvento.
Insomma… potrei commentare un pezzo dopo l’altro. Credo perň sia meglio per voi, sempre che io vi abbia convinto all’ascolto, testare questo disco per ottenere un parere vostro. Č difficile descrivere il lavoro di una formazione tanto aperta alle novitŕ e amica delle strutture complicate.
Questo CD puň essere amato o odiato; vie di mezzo non ne esistono. Chi sono gli Umbah? Umbah, appunto!

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BEARDS ETC.
Review by Patrick

Umbah are a British project that plays a variety of avant-garde metal heavily infused with electronic elements. I was unable to get any concrete information on the evolution of the group's lineup, but it is currently a solo project. The band's output has been steady for some time, though, with 13th full-length albums since 1996. They released Enter the Dagobah Core, their newest effort, earlier this month.
Musically, this was a pretty big step outside the norm for me. I imagine it would be for the majority of metal fans. The use of a drum machine is nothing new to metal, especially with studio projects like this. On the other hand, the use of electronic beats, sound effects, and synths on this record is heavy enough to make it feel more like an electronic album than a metal album in many places. There were honestly parts of several songs where I felt like I was listening to a soundtrack from a mid 90s computer game, or possibly to the closing credits of a cyberpunk anime series. In other places, though, the music is driven by aggressive guitar riffs and furious drum beats. Flowery, progressive guitar work also crops up in places, though typically only as an interlude between other, larger segments of a song.
The vocals on this album are notable for their extreme variety. They range from darkly industrial spoken pieces drenched in effects, to smooth clean singing, to vicious bellowing growls and raspy screams. Often, these shifts will occur multiple times in the same track. This is actually quite representative of the album in general, with frequent and peculiar shifts scattered throughout its duration.
This is honestly a pretty hard album to put my finger on. It changes pace and direction so frequently that even pinning a specific style on it feels somewhat inappropriate, beyond the fact that it has electronic and metal aspects. At various points I heard dubstep "wub wubbing", harsh industrial noise, progressive guitar sections. Sparkling background synths and digital beats would give way to harsh black metal rasps and heavily distorted chord progressions, which themselves would be just as quickly replaced with punk rock shouting. There were moments when this sounded almost exactly like Static X, Slipknot, Devin Townsend, and Mr. Bungle to name just a few bands that sprung to mind as I listened to this.
Ultimately, this degree of variation proves to be a bit overwhelming to the senses. There are parts of this record that I absolutely love, but they are so intertwined with a massive, twisted jumble of ideas that no sooner do they begin to settle in than they vanish back into the nebulous mire of shifting sounds. There are really just too many ideas at work for a single record to effectively contain, so the overall effect is extremely schizophrenic. This makes accurately rating the album almost impossible. As I listened, I found myself going from "this is incredible, maybe the best album of the year" to "this is a bizarre piece of crap, and it deserves a horrible grade" quite literally within the space of a minute or two, and then two minutes later I would change back again. The entire experience reminds me of the saying that the line between genius and insanity is measured only by success. Right now, I'm still not certain just how successful this album really is.
A complex album, it will probably take me a long time to figure out exactly how I feel about this thing. It might be brilliant, or it might be a disaster, but it's difficult to feel neutral about this record.

[Grade: B+]

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QRANQ
Review by Stefan

Ready for some weird shit anyone? Umbah has released it’s thirteenth album since 1996 and three demos were released before that. Basically it all started in 1990 when Cal started his metal equivalent of the indecipherable nightmares of an alien computer-god with serious mental illness and destructive appetites. Before this he used to be the guitarist for UK’s grind act Necrosanct but his love for electronic sounds took over and Umbah was born.
With a very beautiful artwork “Enter The Dagobah Core” enters from outer space the earth to hit upon the non expecting listener with it’s crushing and devastating terror. While the foundation of metal was made when there even weren’t computers the message of Umbah is ‘I compute, therefore I am’. So Cal mixes up his old grind past with the newly electronics. Some references with GGFH can be made but Umbah sits on the extreme side of things and isn’t afraid to even cross the border to more extreme things. But on the other side Cal isn’t also afraid to turn into a more relaxed sound like on “Oberon Tales” although it freaks out a little at the end.
“Enter The Dagobah Core” isn’t something new or highly experimental, it’s just a mix of extreme metal and extreme electronics and perhaps the electronics aren’t that extreme. If you listen to some aggrotech or death industrial there can be more extremities found in the sound. But nevertheless Umbah has something that can be called extreme and funny enough some recognizable parts. Fear Factory, Marilyn Manson and aforementioned GGFH popped into my mind on a regular base while listening to “Enter The Dagobah Core”. It gives the album a few extra points as it sticks easily with you but on a professional base the song structures could be done a little better. Sometimes it’s a bit chaotic but if this was the intention, job well done.
[7 out of 10]

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STEREO INVADERS
Review by Thiess

Ci imbattiamo, per la nostra prima volta, nella one-man band Umbah, mancanza che andiamo subito a colmare grazie alla I, Voidhanger Records. In effetti, per chi va alla ricerca di suoni fuori dagli schemi, questo project č una vera manna dal cielo. Attivo dal lontano 1990, e con alle spalle ben quattordici album, arriva un nuovo capitolo discografico alquanto sconvolgente. Il sound č un ibrido tra Industrial e Death Metal, il tutto decisamente avanguardstico nelle strutture e nella follia stessa dei vari pezzi via via inanellati con genialitŕ. Per attitudine e cerebralitŕ, ci viene in mente un parallelo con i Throught Industry, anche se qui siamo su generi assai diversi. Il fatto č che la fantasia, i cambi di tempo, le sfumature Progressive e Jazz, il tono del comparto vocale e la totale deframmentazione e dissonanza delle note, ci rammentano proprio quel gruppo. Non vi č frenesia alcuna, tutto arriva spontaneo, anche se incredibilmente slegato da ogni cliché o qualsivoglia parallelismo. Il comparto vocale mastica elettronica, sputando poi un’interpretazione gelida ma allo stesso tempo irreale. Luce ambarica pulsa inanimatamente su una lastra di ghiaccio, caduchi fiocchi di neve che, nella loro intima promiscuitŕ, tutto ricoprono, per poi essere furiosamente sospinti dal vento. Molte band dovrebbero prendere spunto dalla personalitŕ di Cal Scott, autentico genio del Metal.
[9.5 out of 10]

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SEA OF TRANQUILLITY
Review by Kim Jensen

With a release from I, Voidhanger Records and affiliated labels, you can be certain about one thing: it is bound to be an interesting experience – whether you actually like the music or not, you know that, at least, you are going to embark on an interesting musical journey. Thus, while quite different from many of the other acts associated with I, Voidhanger Records, the British madman electro-metal project Umbah is a fitting artist to release through this label.
Enter the Dagobah Core, which is the thirteenth album to be released by Cal Scott under the Umbah monicker, is definitely an instance of an extreme music release. Combining extreme metal with extreme electronica, Scott takes the listener on a chaotic and often mind-boggling journey to the Dagobah core and back (Star Wars reference noted, by the way) through songs that combine elements from death metal, thrash metal, grindcore and even some hardcore punk with various types of extreme techno music whose genres label I cannot name due to my lack of insight into electronic music.
The overall approach of the album is one of avant-garde chaos, as every song is a flurry of riffs and electronic drumbeats – most of the time emulating drum patterns from exterme metal and sometimes more obviously electronica-derived – and contains numerous shifts, changes and impressions. As a bonus, the guitar leads occasionally go off on a Spheres-era Pestilence-ish jazz fusion path. The vocals which are at times growled, at times screamed, at times sung, and at times processed and enhanced digitally, pretty much reflect the overall chaotic feel that there is to Enter the Dagobah Core. However, the more you listen to the album – if you can take it (in all fairness, this is not easy listening music) – the more you realize that there is absolute order to this chaos.
This release is interesting. Is it good? I think it is. I think that there are a lot of positive qualities to Enter the Dagobah Core, but it is also an extremely challenging listen that requires a lot from its listener. Fans of both extreme metal and extreme electronica who are interested to hear what those two genres combined might sound like should check this release out.
[3.5 out of 5]

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AVANTGARDE METAL
Review by Suleiman

The first thing that should grab you here should be the jaw-dropping artwork. It nails the alien- / sci-fi nature of most of Umbah's body of work , but steps it up a notch much like the music on this ferocious beast of a CD. This would have been at the top of my 2011 top ten list, except it will be seeing release now, due to various reasons. Trust me, this wipes the floor with the tired mass of cliches that passes for industrial metal or tech-death these days. Its going to be one of the few times that I will do a track by track review.
Whipsers of a Dying Sun Part 1 starts out with a deceptively charging chug before descending into beat driven uber death madness. Then the calmer bits (relatively) show up, just to emphasize the horn raising nature of the riffing that hits the listener again. This opener does its job of getting the listener hooked with its melding of technical death metal and dark electronic touches.
Bolderok Naron: Within a few seconds, you know you are in for a ride. All the signature elements that make Umbah such a treat are present. The riffing is no less than headbangingly awesome, while the electronica and sampling takes it places lesser musicians dream of. It manages to show Cal's grasp of groove, brutality and the outer reaches of space in one go.
Temple Bar: is a mid-paced charging freak rocker with the requisite synth and drum and bass flourishes (which are again quite different to typical dnb). The guitars remain top-notch, while vocals switch personalities at will.
Dr. Geiger: One of my favorite tracks on this album, its a masterwork of the new metal weird. A sci-fi tech-death goth epic, you need to hear it NOW ! Once you hear it, try getting that refrain out of your head. Again, the accessible electro-goth elements blend seamlessly with technical death metal of the highest caliber. The schizophrenic vocal presence is in full force too, covering a lot of bases yet making it work in the context of the song.
Enter the Dagobah Core: The futuristic drum and bass will have you dancing the cyborg in a jiffy, even as the strange aura envelops you. And when the guitars and vocals kick in, its like the perfection of what Skinny Puppy tried when introducing distorted guitars to their sound. Sounds are mangled beyond recognitions, yet fit the malfunctioning android groove like a cybernetic glove.
Hypnotic Implant: Here is further proof that creativity and accessibility can mix in a brutal matter. The pads, synths , beats ad samples show the will and skills to explore that has always been a forte of UK electronica, while the guitar work simply crushes (Morbid Angel via Killing Joke!).
Cosmic Garland: Extreme death metal through an alien filter that manages to sound effortlessly modern , especially with the very sci-fi electronic (calmer) bits. If you wanted an integral mix of damn near perfect metal and electronica (minus the cringe worthy cliches) this is your ticket. I have yet to hear anyone else marrying such savage forward thinking riffery and dizzying electronica.
Mad Zu Chong: has some super tasty slower/doomier riffing along with aspects of the usual blitzkrieg, combined with Cal's vocal personality # 475 (the goth intergalactic bounty hunter). Its strange, how like previous albums, the whole thing seems like a sci-fi concept album, but despite the lyrics and artwork its hard to fathom exactly what the plot is (or maybe its the cohesion of the concept of all the elements that's making me read too much into it). Its more abstract this way and allows for various interpretations.
Oberon Tales: Another tune that most tech-death bands would be too stuck up to write, this is almost a synth goth ballad, with a very memorable vocal performance backed by a understated but effective framework. The feel is decidedly epic,and you will be humming by the second or third listen. The metal parts will make you punch your Uranium 236 space modulator for sure.
Rackborn Skin Expulsion: starts out closer to conventional extreme metal, yet would still freak out most metal heads (and guitarists) with the tremolo speed and discordance of the axework. It touches the outer limits of what is possible in technical brutal death metal arrangement, but always with the signature eccentricity of Umbah.
Serokate Fornion: comes in with a head down modern groove and the disorienting vocal manifestations of the many clones of Cal. The mid-section using a very catchy and relatively simple progression to great effect before again venturing into a worm hole of avantgarde metal.
Zombinods aptly lurches, jitters, falls, picks itself up and stumbles towards you with a menacing bass riff. The vocals have a slight black metal rasp this time, which matches the odd menacing mood to the t. The bass and drum work stays top-notch through out.
Whispers of the Dying Sun Part 2 is on another plane entirely, a grinding haunting industrial ditty of anthemic proportions. You too can sing along :”No meaning, no meaning...” as your subconscious is seeded with the germs of an alien e-virus.
The level of consistency that Umbah has shown in its prolific output of the last 5 years (with a total discography spanning a decade) is a tribute to the sheer genius of Cal Scott. The fact that Umbah is still so unknown just confirms what a shitty BUSINESS mainstream metal really is,and that most CONSUMERS and so-called critics cannot see beyond the hype of the current flavour of the week. Here is a true testament to the vitality of the underground, and proof that true art follows no trends. All of that and more, while remaining so metal it hurts. I believe the holy grail of industrial / sci-fi metal has been found.

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FROM THE DUST RETURNED
Review by Autothrall

For whatever reason, my paths have never crossed with Umbah in the past. Unusual, since the project has produced a dozen albums to date, but we can't all hear everything, and I'm willing to bet most of these earlier works were small pressings, self-released with a limited audience in mind. If Enter the Dagobah Core is any indicator of their quality, then I admit I might have missed out, because not only is this a high strung, entertaining manifestation of cyber industrial death thrash, but comforting proof that there are human beings far stranger than I out there. The kind I typically tend to hang out with. The kind we could all benefit from. Now, autothrall is no square, but Enter the Dagobah Core is a humbling, eccentric experience which fuses the geek-chic of its creator into a harness of spatial, spastic, plastic and technical absurdity which gives the aesthetic impression of flying a TIE fighter into a Macarena party while huffing glue and gasoline.
I'm not exactly a stranger to Cal Scott, the project's sole member at present. Or rather, HE is no stranger to the scene. He once slung the six-string for the fairly enjoyable British death bangers Necrosanct, who produced a pair of sadly forgotten second tier gems in Incarnate (1992) and Desolate (1993) through Swedish imprint Black Mark Productions. However, aside from the fact that it flirts with the extreme side of the metal spectrum, Umbah, at least in this present state, has little to nothing in common with his alma mater. Enter the Dagobah Core is more like listening to Germans Mekong Delta while you're trying to perform speed runs of Mega Man, or a clusterfuck of Florida hybrids Atheist and Hellwitch with Devo. In fact, I don't think I've had so much fun with a cybernetic metal beatdown of this sort since Alf Svensson's Oxiplegatz. Or, more accurately, Gigantic Brain's Invasion Discography, but while that was more of an alien abduction grind outing, this is more like a man entirely off his meds, shredding and growling his way through some 16-bit future.
It's not total chipset video game death metal like the amazing Norrin Radd, so the guitars still play an important part of the picture. However, the architecture of the songs here is absolutely batshine insane. With "Whispers of a Dying Sun Part I" alone, the first three minutes of the CD, we've cycled through warbling, pulsing electronic noise to dissonant spikes of driving thrash, tense and complex electro freakouts, and even an EBM framework or two which would not have been out of place on a KMFDM record. Scott's vocals engage a wide, schizoid array of personas that range from the usual rasp or death grunt to a more Gothic, doped up edge redolent of The Kovenant or Marilyn Manson, to bursts of nasal paranoia or even pitch shifted narrative via Darth Vader. There are no rules to which he strictly adheres, and this creates a massive sandbox of personality through which he gets to explore through the lurching, chugging diatribes of "Cosmic Garland", Cannibal Corpse gone psycho-hyper-fuck of "Rackborn Skin Expulsion" or destructo dancer "Zombinods".
I swear, I heard such divergent voices here as an opera singer and a horse whinny. The entire 13 track progression of the album feels as if its almost always about to burst at the seams, succumb to its own energized clutter, but Scott hurls one interesting passage after another in your path, and I found myself unable to turn away from it. Each successive spin drowned me in the chaos, a whirlwind of electronic drumming and choppy, thrashing precision. There must be six thousand riffs on this thing, and while not all are incredibly distinct of their own volition, the rapid, surefire succession of their arrival is bound to drill itself into even the most A.D.D. addled cranium. On the flip side, this is not something you want to listen to if you're sporting a pacemaker. Or if you have epilepsy. A few songs are mildly calmer, like "Mad Zu Chong", but in general you're dealing with a strobe light of frenetic industrial trance excess.
It's not the perfect cure for a hangover headache, because admittedly the music is so frivolous and fun to the point that its own goofiness burdens the listener's ability to take it serious. Enter the Dagobah Core is too spurious, synthetic and ridiculous for its own good. Certified crazy. But then, that's rather the point of the thing. Subject matter ranges from the obvious Star Wars influence (the title track) to Germanic physicists ("Dr. Geiger") and Chinese astronomer-mathematicians ("Mad Zu Chong"), and you get the feeling this guy had as much a good time choosing them as you will have listening to them. I don't know just how wide an audience a record like this will find, but I'd recommend it to nearly anyone with the eroded mental health to appreciate it's flabbergasting charms, or anyone who might appreciate a Mr. Bungle remix of Illud Divinum Insanus which DIDN'T suck. Can you imagine that? Nerd on, motherfuckers.
[7.5 out of 10]

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HATEUL METAL
Review by Aceust

Umbah exisitiert bereits seit 1990 und ist das alleinige Projekt des Briten Cal Scott, der Anfang der 90iger Jahre auch bei der bekannten Death-Metal-Gruppe Necrosant war. Mit Necrosanct hat Umbah allerdings nichts zu tun. Das aktuelle Album Enter The Dagobah Core ist mittlerweile das 13. Album! Cal Scott wollte mit Umbah traditionellen Death/Grind mit Elektronik vermischen. Dabei kommt ziemlich abgefahrener Industrial Metal heraus, den ich so noch nicht gehört habe. Der Death/Grind ist im Laufe der Jahre einer experimentellen, extremen und avantgardistischen Spielweise gewichen. Enter The Dagobah Core ist ein sehr rasantes, lebendiges, komplexes sowie bewegliches Album, auf dem nicht nur die elektronische Komponente für jede Menge Aufruhr sorgt.
Der Anteil an elektronischen Klängen, Veränderungen, Bearbeitungen und Samples ist sehr hoch, und es wird selbstverständlich ein Drumcomputer verwendet. Dieser hört sich sehr gut programmiert an und passt perfekt zur Musik. Denn auch die Saiteninstrumente sowie der überaus facettenreiche Gesang klingen oft steril, kalt und mechanisch. Es gibt überaus viele Riffs zu hören, die manchmal extrem abstrakt und technisch sind, gerade am Anfang des Albums gibt es viele schwierige und sehr lebhafte Melodien zu hören, was durchaus auch sehr chaotisch wirken kann. Diese stete Beweglichkeit ist ein wesentliches Merkmal des Albums. Stillstand oder Eingängigkeit gibt es auf dem Album nicht, es ist immer etwas in Bewegung, ständig gibt es Veränderungen und Wandlungen. Und wenn dies dann auch noch mit eigenwilligen, sehr abstrakten Melodien einhergeht, braucht man schon etwas Zeit, um in die akustische Welt von Enter The Dagobah Core einzutauchen.
Mich erinnert die Musik ab und zu an Traumatic Voyage, ob der psychotischen und überaus bizarren Kompositionen und Arrangements. Auch wenn der elektronische Anteil, der Industrial, bei Umbah hoch ist, sind es aber auch die vielen Stimmen, die dem Album ihre besondere Atmosphäre verleihen. Es gibt unverzerrte Stimmen ebenso zu hören wie mannigfaltig verzerrte Stimmen, die über Deathgrind bis hin zum Black Metal reichen. Unterm Strich bleibt sehr vielfältiger und experimenteller Industrial Metal, der sowohl sehr schnelle und extreme Parts als auch tanzbare elektronische Passagen enthält. Um überhaupt in den Genuss von Umbah kommen zu können, muss man in jedem Fall experimentellen und modernen Metal sowie Elektronik mögen, ansonsten ist es sinnlos, sich hiermit zu beschäftigen. Mir gefällt Enter The Dagobah Core jedenfalls, vor allem, weil mir die zahlreichen düsteren Industrial-Arrangements gefallen, die manchmal an elektronische Musik der 80iger und 90iger erinnern - womit Umbah nebenbei auch noch Moderne mit Retro verbindet.
[7 out of 10]

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METALLUS
Review by Alekos Capelli

Il solo-project Umbah, animato dal chitarrista inglese Cal Scott, č uno strano ibrido fra metal estremo e suoni elettronici, un pň come se Strapping Young Lad, Cephalic Carnage, Marilyn Manson e gli Eiffel 65 fossero finiti nello stesso frullatore intergalattico.
Fortunatamente la componente death/grind č comunque quella preponderante, ed č svolta anche piuttosto bene. Non c’č per altro da stupirsi, visto che gli Umbah sono in giro dal 1990, e hanno totalizzato giŕ ben tredici uscite. A dispetto della sua lunga militanza underground, “Enter the Dagobah Core” sarŕ solo il secondo album degli Umbah ad avere una promozione e una distribuzione ad ampio raggio (dopo “Trilobeth”, 2010), in virtů del contratto siglato con la piccola ma intraprendente I, Voidhanger Records.
L’approccio di base del progetto, a causa della sua natura solista, č essenzialmente do-it-yourself, e vede Scott impegnato, oltre che con la sua fida BC Rich Warlock, con un sacco di effettistica e strumentazione elettronica (synth, drum-machine).
Giŕ dalle prime note questo “Enter the Dagobah Core” mostra tutta la sua componente sci-fi, attraverso il continuo ricorso a filtri ed effetti che costruiscono un’atmosfera spaziale e aliena (cfr. il bell’artwork, opera di J.L. Phlegeton). Le diverse suggestioni prodotte da questo caleidoscopio sonoro sembrano quasi descrivere un commento musicale estremo alla guida intergalattica per autostoppisti di Douglas Adams, per il loro modo molto naěf di unire partiture violentissime e veri e propri freak-show sonori, a base di rumorismi ed effetti acustici analog.
Nelle tredici tracce di questa corposa tracklist c’č spazio un po’ per tutto, dalle granitiche bordate death di “Bolderok Naron”, “Dr. Geiger” e “Serokate Fornion” a brani mutevoli e imprevedibili come “Temple Bar” e “Hypnotic Implant”, per segnalare le tracce piů convincenti.
Il songwriting di Cal Scott č a dir poco eterogeneo, inanellando senza sosta e senza problemi, strutture apparentemente inconciliabili fra loro, come chitarre iper-compresse e distorte e sample 8-bit, growl e voci melodiche. Anche a livello ritmico si assiste a una grande varietŕ, fra bpm alla velocitŕ della luce e rallentamenti pachidermici.
C’č da segnalare anche la presenza di qualche filler (la title-track, “Cosmic Garland”, “Oberon Tales”), mascherato da composizione piů atmosferica/ambient, o comunque imitante soluzione giŕ sfruttate in corso d’opera, caratteristica che abbassa il livello di adrenalina e rallenta eccessivamente l’ascolto di un disco che altrimenti scorrerebbe davvero molto bene. A parte questa piccola sbavatura, che sarebbe per altro stata facilmente rimediabile, con una cernita piů rigorosa e sintetica dei brani da presentare, il nuovo disco degli Umbah č un ascolto monto interessante e altamente competitivo.
Davvero assurdo come un musicista dalle qualitŕ cosě palesi e consistenti, sia riuscito solamente in tempi recenti, dopo piů di una decina d’uscite in altrettanti anni, a ottenere una qualche forma di ufficialitŕ e disponibilitŕ. Ma, come si suol dire, meglio tardi che mai!
[7 out of 10]

 

      

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