Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tsarina - "Царица" [2016]

Artist: Tsarina
Title: Царица
Genre: Black Metal/Punk
Country: Russia
Release date: 2016

Track List:
  1. Очи чёрные
  2. Тоска
  3. Чебурашка
  4. Я встретил вас
  5. Родина
All-female trio from Irkutsk playing cover versions of well-known Soviet/Russian songs in the melodic black metal style with a healthy dose of Siberian punk. All the information about them comes from their Bandcamp page; to my knowledge, they aren't active elsewhere. They apparently are a parody/gimmick band, and they aren't bad for this niche. Maybe they aren't "Russian Peste Noire" (as some reviewers have called them), but it's still something unique and worth giving a listen, especially if you love both underground black metal and vintage aesthetics:

Monday, January 15, 2018

Lycanthropy's Spell - "Misanthropic Visions" [2005]

Artist: Lycanthropy's Spell
Title: Misanthropic Visions
Genre: Depressive Black Metal
Country: Belgium
Release date: 2005

Track List:
  1. Misanthropic Visions
  2. Cemetery Lights
  3. Fullmoon Depression
  4. Emptiness of Lonelyness
  5. Nocturnal Forest in the Moonlight
  6. On the Wings of Sadness
  7. Hi Yiste
  8. Спокойная Ночь (Kino cover)
"Chechen black metal" was as much of the recurring joke in the Russian metal scene of the mid-2000s as "Eastern Orthodox black metal", but nevertheless both things actually exist. Lycanthropy's Spell, based out of Belgium and active during 2003-2005, consisted of two members: Sarmak, a Chechen refugee, and Inferis, originally from Britain and active in many different underground black metal projects all over Western Europe. The band name was taken from the song "Embraced by Lycanthropy's Spell" by Moonblood (their main source of influence).

While at a first glance this band seems to be the embodiment of all second wave black metal stereotypes, they do have their own distinctive kind of sound (as well as the great atmosphere). Where else would you hear a blackened noise ballad with lyrics in Chechen?

Sarmak died from heart failure at the age of 20 the same year this album was released, leaving behind one solo release which is probably the one and only example of Chechen pagan black metal. Disregarding the poor quality of production (what else could you expect from an one-man underground black metal project 15 years ago?), knowing that it was made someone coming from a culture that still practices many brutal traditions such as blood feuds or honour killings makes it much more impressive than a lot of overproduced pagan metal releases from, i.e., Scandinavian countries:

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Bone Awl - "Bog Bodies" [2003]

Artist: Bone Awl
Title: Bog Bodies
Genre: Black Metal
Country: USA
Release date: 2003

Track List:
  1. Tollund Man
  2. Grauballe Man
  3. Lindow Man
  4. Virvatulet (outro)
Have you heard about the phenomenon of "bog bodies", where the bodies of people drowned in peat bogs become mummified and preserved intact for millenia? The members of Bone Awl apparently know about it too (not surprising for a band whose name has to do with archaeology), and even have recorded an EP dedicated to the three best known "bog people" (one track for each, plus a long outro with the name meaning "will-o'-the-wisp" in Finnish). The music is pretty suitable for such kind of subject: primitive, ugly, and "primal" (for the lack of better word). If you liked "Hydronymy" by Kastchei, you might enjoy this one too:

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Hesychast - "Ageless" [2016]

Artist: Hesychast
Title: Ageless
Genre: Unblack Metal
Country: USA
Release date: 2016

Track List:
  1. Волны Смерти
  2. Discordant
  3. Trace of Breath
  4. Eye
  5. Moth and Rust
  6. Ageless
  7. Trisagion
Orthodox black metal (and no, I'm talking not about bands like Deathspell Omega, but about actual Orthodox Christian (un)black metal) had been a recurring joke on Russian metal scene since the mid-2000s at least. Nobody could belive such a thing can unironically exist, although a couple of Ukrainian bands (Holy Blood and Euroclydon) actually tried to play it at that time. This album is, however, a relatively new attempt at playing (un)black metal with Orthodox themes by two Americans who apparently were inspired by 2006 "The Island" movie (judging from the samples in the opening track):

What can I say? The result turned out much better than one might expect it to be. Leaving the album theme aside, it's quite decent atmospheric black metal, definitely no worse than the much more hyped "Litourgiya" by Batushka. And, to be honest, it seems like there isn't that much wrong with the topic of hesychasm in black metal either. After all, the history of Orthodoxy knows definitely no less anti-human & anti-life moments than the history of any black metal band out there. So, if you're looking for something "darker" to listen on Eastern Orthodox Xmas, this album might be exactly what you're looking for:

Monday, January 1, 2018

Eisenwut - "Die Herrschaft der Leere" [2017]

Artist: Eisenwut
Title: Die Herrschaft der Leere
Genre: Industrial Metal, NDH
Country: Russia
Release date: 2017

Track List:
  1. Auf der anderen Seite der Verzweiflung
  2. Freiheit
  3. Gib mir Kraft
  4. Tod tritt zurück
  5. Die Herrschaft der Leere
  6. Eisenwut
  7. Der ewige Krieg
  8. Стальные крылья
  9. Warum
  10. Weltordnung (feat. Nachtmahr)
  11. Магнолия
  12. Wo blumen entarten
Just like any other attempt by a Russian band to play NDH, this album is a total Rammstein worship. What else it could be, seriously? However, Eisenwut are far better than a lot of other Rammstein clones (including their vocalist's earlier band, Hackmesser, which I recall as being completely horrible). Of course the fans of Rammstein and Neue Deutsche Härte in general most likely won't hear anything new on this album, but taking in account that Rammstein haven't released anything good in ages, it's nice to have a new decently produced work in the same style. Sure, this kind of music is past its peak of popularity by now, yet this album still brings back the memories of me as a teenage Rammstein fan. My personal favourites are "Gib mir Kraft", "Eisenwut", and "Магнолия":