Release DetailsLABEL Total Holocaust Records
RELEASED ON 12/1/2004
posted on 5/2005 By:
With the once (astonishingly) prolific Polish scene having slowed of late, the NSBM audience has over the past few years diverted its attention to the burgeoning scenes on Greek, Finnish, French and, humorously, American shores, the racial elitism and paganistic atavism of NSBM snowballing into an increasingly legitimate cultural phenomenon boasting a growing membership worldwide. Of all the scenes that populate the NSBM landscape currently, however, perhaps none is as widely acclaimed as that of Ukraine. Much of this has to do with the innate musicality of acts such as Nokturnal Mortum, Drudkh, Munruthel and Hate Forest, who offer far more challenging material than much of the ideology intensive, musically skimpy tripe that litters the NSBM terrain. Having straddled a wave of hype over the past two years, this Lutomysl record arrived in my hands amidst a flurry of glowing reviews, with many acclaiming it as another jewel in the Ukrainian black metal crown.
Now, I’ve never been one to trust the word of the frenzied NSBM underground, a scene which boasts as its primary fanbase a host of blithering incoherent nitwits, but this is actually pretty engaging stuff. The agenda here is largely frigid, blasting, uniformly cold black metal, frostbitten and harsh but with an acute inclination for subtle melody and atmospherics. Aesthetically, there is a rather prominent artistic kinship with some of the rawer, less synth-heavy Lucifugum material and Purity-era Hate Forest, though Lutomysl frankly are somewhat less interesting than either of those outfits in their present incarnation.
Instead, this is uniformly trebly, uptempo, straightforward material that offers little dynamic variation, yet somehow manages to sound genuine and tortured enough to provide for an involving listen. There are some fucking CHOICE passages here- the slower, introspective section 2 minutes into “R (Cocpegotozue)” is great, as is the somber melody that introduces a cataclysmic blasting passage 2 minutes into “Ty (Ockkonlutue)” and the melody that closes said track. While blasts do dominate the record, there is a genuinely hypnotic quality to many of the droning melodies and drum patterns here. When things do begin to veer towards monotony, the band always manage to insert a melody rousing enough to completely intersect the droning tedium, infusing the typically epic (5 to 9 minutes) structures with enough variety to steer clear from boredom.
The production here is rather dissimilar to much similarly-acclaimed underground metal in the sense that it is far clearer and more well-defined than the basement variety of black metal, but the trebly, high register feel and gratingly harsh guitar sound suggest that Lutomysl drink from the same aesthetic well. While the bass, as with much black metal, is woefully absent in the mix (is it even employed on this recording?), the production on offer here should please many of black metal’s most vocal naysayers, the kick drums sounding propulsive yet organic, riffs are easily discernible from one another instead of being reverb-drenched, overly distorted walls of nonsense that coagulate into a nebulous mass of noise. Clearly, Lutomysl are of a more literate ilk, something that is reflected further in the understated elegance of several passages on the record- keyboards are used VERY effectively here, surfacing to provide a spectrally faint counterpart to the relentless blast/tremolo sections, residing deep within the mix to add understated dimension to the proceedings instead of venturing into Nokturnal Mortum silliness.
Admittedly, many may find the contents of this record to be somewhat redundant, and to some degree such assertions may indeed be justified. The linear and largely unadventurous material here is not an artistic revelation in a field already inundated with similarly ‘’raw’’ black metal outfits. However, the ornate flourishes that decorate each and every track here glow with a sophistication that eludes much of today’s black metal underground. A little typical, to be sure, but undoubtedly a well-written and convincingly despondent release. If you enjoy the harsher end of the Russian metal spectrum (ie not folky wankery like Temnozor, Astrofaes and Nokturnal Mortum), this has your name all over it.
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