Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Velehentor - "Sak-Yelga" [2005]

Artist: Velehentor
Title: Сак-Елга
Genre: Dark Ambient, Industrial, Noise
Country: Russia
Year: 2005

Track List:
  1. Сак-Елга
  2. Гной Земли
Since I have mentioned the projects of Anton "121" Shafarostov (Velehentor, Nuclear Winter, Closing The Eternity) quite a few times on my blog, it'd be natural to post at least one of his works - even if I think he's more of a musical critic rather than a musician.

Velehentor was founded in 1998, initially as a dark ambient side project by the members of Valhalla - one of the very first black metal bands to come from the Urals region (formed in 1996 in Ekaterinburg). A.Shafarostov was the vocalist/keyboardist of Valhalla, and was known under the moniker "Satt" back then. In 1998, Velehentor recorded their first live demo cassette, consisting of 3 untitled track, each over 10 minutes long. Valhalla broke up in 2000, and Velehentor became Anton's solo project after that. While his another solo project, Closing The Eternity, is mostly pure cosmic ambient/drone, Velehentor offers a wider range of genres: from minimalistic dark ambient (mostly earlier releases) to power electronics and industrial noise. The latest release from Velehentor up to date is a short EP called "Ceremonial Death" (2011).

As far as I know, Anton now is a high-ranked official in Ekaterinburg, and isn't very active as a musician anymore - maybe because of a lack of free time, maybe because he doesn't want his public career to be associated with his underground works... who knows? At least he still writes reviews for his webzine "Twilight Shadows", and that's my favourite part of his creative output - I love the sarcastic style of his reviews, as well as his extensive knowledge of underground black metal and music in general. I think he easily could start an avant-garde black metal project on the level of Arcturus or Ved Buens Ende, if he wanted to - but alas, he doesn't like progressive black metal, and most of his releases are quite minimalistic (be it metal, ambient, or noise).

"Саг-Елга" is a bit more varied than Velehentor's early releases, though - it's a mix of dark ambient and industrial/noise, with some spoken word vocals (which makes it one of the very few Velehentor/Closing The Eternity releases that aren't purely instrumental). As opposed to Valhalla, whose music was said to be influenced by "the dark aspects of Urals' nature", this cassette by Velehentor is rather influenсed by Urals' "anti-nature" (if I may say so). The ideology of Velehentor is generally based on the standard "anti-human / anti-life" black metal ideas, and this particular album is inspired by numerous industrial and environmental disasters that happened in the Urals region. The cover photo shows the vicinity of Karabash, a town on the Sak-Yelga river in South Urals which is known for very high levels of pollution caused by a copper smelting plant. From what I've seen on the photos from there, it's literally a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie came true. I also live not far from a very polluted industrial zone (Dzerzhinsk), but it's nothing compared to Karabash:

(the last photo is taken from a gallery which you can view here; photographer - Ilya Yakovlev, model - nich_ya)

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