Scripture of the Woods
posted on 5/2007 By:
So here we have the debut from Lviv, Ukraine’s Dragobrath. This is a two-man, studio only act in which one member performs instruments and programs drums and the other member writes lyrics and performs vocals. Also, corpsepaint. Yes folks, this is another Eastern European black metal endeavor, and with the album title Scripture of the Woods and the Ukraine’s strong raw and NS black metal scenes, I was expecting some tinny, frostbitten and perhaps folksy black metal, but instead these guys purvey a melodic but primal brand of drum machine-driven BM that’s short on creativity but great on execution.
Opener “Scripture of the Woods” and the closing cover of “Transylvanian Hunger” suggest a more biting, Darkthrone-fueled assault at first but Scripture of the Woods quickly becomes a riffier, more melodic and less atmospheric venture. Dragobrath rely on a cache of twining, melodic tremolo riffing and some almost chorus-like vocal hooks in the songwriting department; the band narrowly escape the usual kvlt accusations of commerciality by channeling their structures through a bristling, caustic production and injecting torrents of robotic blastbeats. The resultant sound is something like a more intense version of early Dissection or maybe even Vittra-era Naglfar; grimy and hostile enough for the purists but catchy enough to draw in more casual listeners. True to their Ukrainian roots, Dragobrath also inject an occasional folksy clean break or traditional-music-inspired guitar melody; these are used to great effect on album centerpiece “Eerie Obscure,” which is a truly epic cut. Fortunately, keyboards and symphonics are used sparingly, if at all, so Scripture of the Woods is able to retain a more serious, hostile atmosphere.
Though Dragobrath profess to attempting “something unusual,” the fact is that Scripture of the Woods is ultimately something of a retread both musically and lyrically. That said, as is often the case in metal, a deficiency of originality doesn’t necessarily stop the music from pleasing the connoisseur. This disc is an excellent compromise between a more modern and streamlined sound and the tr00 Norwegian bands of yore, and should appeal to a broad spectrum of the black metal population. Not essential, but a good investment nonetheless.
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