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Uzeda is a four piece band that hails from Catania, a city in the region of Sicily. Catania is known for its close proximity to Mt. Etna, a volcano so consistently explosive that it makes the most obvious and closest point of comparison for Uzeda's music. It seems only right to say that Uzeda is the musical equivalent of this smoking mass of rock, because the songs they create together ebb and flow like molten lava. And the red-hot blasts of noise they've forged on their latest full-length, Stella, are fiery enough to leave scars and burn marks.

One of the first things you'll notice upon listening to Stella is the anguished screams of lead singer Giovanna Cacciola. Notice just how quickly she can switch from crooning to howling on the appropriately titled "Wailing." She practically reaches out of the speakers and demands your attention. The angular, corrosive guitar work courtesy of Agostino Tilotta is right there in the mix too, providing its own commentary. And the punishing combo of Raffaele Gulisano on bass and Davide Oliveri on drums is the group's constant. Throughout the album, Raffaele's bass work takes the lead as often as any other instrument. One-sided music this is not.

This type of songcraft needs a sympathetic producer, so who else were the band to call than Steve Albini? He and Uzeda have a long history together, with him having recorded a number of their previous albums. He traveled to the city of Senigallia in their native Italy to record Stella at Red House Recording Studio. Sure enough, the sounds he captured on tape are just as muscular as you'd expect. And any fan of the genre will be thrilled to discover the wonderful performances the band laid down in the studio.

When it comes time to crank it up, you would do alright to check out "Camillo" or album closer "Steam, Rain and Other Stuff". But really, you can't go wrong with any choice off of Stella. The album has been distilled down to the rough essence of its creation. And if you need your bands to make concessions to the listener, forget about it. This music is made for those who like their rock uncompromising, passionate, and honest. There isn't a lick of false pretension in Uzeda's music. And that's the only way they'd have it.

If we're to believe the music on this disc, Stella is one hell of an intimidating lady.