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Alan Averill

● Why no new anthems
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Tchornobog | ‘Tchornobog’

There is still an awful lot to be said for the grandeur that one-man Black Metal projects can conjure up.

The underground still issues forth these alchemical delights every few months.

Yet, for every black pearl like Funereal Presence, there are a swathe of also-rans, endlessly repeating the same tired formulas.

That said, as a way of making metal, the purity and vision that such control can produce is almost beyond question.

Enter Tchornobog.

The brainchild of one Markov Soroka, a 21 year old originally from Ukraine but currently resident in North America, this is the project’s debut record.

That Tchornobog went from being “Tchornowhat?” at a boutique Canadian metal festival back in April (“The best band you haven’t heard of…” quipped the promoters) to being discussed far and wide in just a few months is some indication of what this record has in store.

Sinister Watercolour

It’s clear after one spin that there are some towering moments within.

The music is layered, atmosphere, and inventive, with Soroka describing it as “a result of heavy meditation in a desert landscape…which harbors a nest for the Mind’s Eye to be imprisoned”.

Like the outright sinister watercolour that covers the record’s sleeve, there is an amorphous character to this hour of music.

It slips easily from blasting Black Metal, to long sections filtering through Doom, ambient and far more stylistically diverse fare, before following the umbilical cord back to BM.

Opener, ‘The Vomiting Tchornobog’, fairly spits forth its intentions on the page.

It’s a 20 minute shapeshifter that hammers just as hard as it hums with malevolent atmospherics. Organic, pulsing drums nicely match a scorching riffing style. As if that monstrous eye on the cover wasn’t hint enough, it’s made obvious there’s a vision at work here.

Handling and propelling a track so long is always an indication of quality, but it’s during ‘Non-Existence’s Warmth’ that this thing keeps unfolding newer and even more diverse petals and fronds.

Having climbed the well-worn steps of ceremonial dread with a swathe of whispering, incense-fogged ambience, we’re suddenly out into a far more chilled-out plateau.

Cue clipped drums and almost post-rock guitar. The scene doesn’t stop shifting, with the street-corner sunrise of a wonderfully unexpected saxophone interlude imposing itself.

Warped Roar

The record shows its class in then deftly mixing these elements. There’s a smoothness that never dulls the impact of the twisting metal that is regularly lashed out.

There are stylistic clues scattered like breadcrumbs throughout. The warped roar of Esoteric’s Greg Chandler appears several times throughout, blending in perfectly.

Indeed, even spectral hints of ‘Springtime Depression’-era Forgotten Tomb seem to echo through the record, from sections of hypnotic guitar picking, to the almost terminal doom that the songs sometimes plunge into.

This heady mix can verge towards disjointed at times, but the deft flow of the record makes sure it retains its purpose and keeps things from becoming bloated.

What’s obvious is that Soroka definitely isn’t afraid to delve beyond the usual toolkit to fully paint this landscape. Desperate, burrowing strings and chiming piano push these songs beyond muscular, atmospheric Black Metal, into a thing all of itself.

As ever with a newer project, it’s tempting to look around for inspirations and acts to act as descriptive waypoints.

Really, what stands out here is a style that only be likened to the ranging efforts of more recent Ruins of Beverast records. It seems intent on being forward-thinking, while not ranging too far beyond the darkened pale.

So steel yourself and set out on a trip across that treacherous landscape painted on this album cover. Hitting play is a first step out from a precipice into some very pure psychosis.

Going on the strength of this, we may have another lone alchemist amongst us.

4.5 / 5 – Lorcan Archer ::: 27/08/17

  1. I was listening to this on Bandcamp a while ago. Really enjoyable stuff. Can’t believe your man is only 21.

  2. Can’t believe the guy’s only 21… I have been listening to this record for a while, and completely agree with the review. Great stuff indeed.

  3. It is impressive to be sure. But remember Ihsahn was 16 when he wrote ITNE and about 19 doing Anthems. Now that is terrifying!

  4. MassiveTractor Says:

    Ihsahn was around 21 when recording Anthems. Still highly impressive in any case!!

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