Ukrainian Metal

Zgard – Contemplation Review

Zgard – Contemplation Review

“You never know when the winds of inspiration will go wafting through your soul like a favorite home-cooked meal. People will spend a good long time hammering out songs, putting hammer to anvil, cooling them off for a short time before honing them to perfection, and presenting their bared souls to the festering masses. Unless you are uber-prolific like Ukraine’s Zgard and release album after album, and I mean “four albums and one split in two years” prolific. And now, mastermind Yaromisl has unleashed Contemplation upon us.” The Ukraine may be in upheaval, but you can still count on Zgard’s productivity.

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Balfor – Barbaric Blood

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Balfor – Barbaric Blood

I’m not sure I’ve made it clear during my vainglorious tenure at Angry Metal Guy Web Industries, but I love me some Immortal. I also tend to appreciate bands that shamelessly mimic Immortal (see Byfrost) because, I really love Immortal and they don’t release twelve albums a year as they should. Therefore, if one follows the logic chain I’m forging, I’m literally forced to love Balfor. These Ukrainian black thrashers are fully onboard the Immortal party bus and their sophomore release Barbaric Blood is a shameless theft of all things Abbath and it’s pretty good to boot (available via Pulverised Records). Making it all the more interesting is the occasional inclusion of some vintage In Flames style guitar shreddery and melodic wankery. Yep, the boys have some chops and when paired with some nifty songwriting and a flair for the dramatic, this becomes one of the better slices of blackened thrash nobody heard this year. So, should you try hearing it? Well, ask yourself this. Are you morbid? Wait, wrong question. Are you into Immortal?

Raventale – Bringer of Heartsore Review

Raventale – Bringer of Heartsore Review

Ukrainian black metal? With doom and viking elements? By a one man band? Sounds good to me! While Steel Druhm must sheepishly admit to being late to the Raventale party, now that I’m here, I’m a happy fucking camper indeed. That’s because one Astaroth Merc has single-handedly spewed out a very entertaining and enjoyable platter of contemplative, brooding, atmospheric and doomy black metal on his fifth album, Bringer of Heartsore. So good is the material here, I’m willing to overlook that awful, AWFUL album title (plus, I’m assuming English is like his fifth language so mistakes will be made). So what will a listener be treated to on a Raventale album? A composite of Moonsorrow, Helrunar and SIG:AR:TYR (minus the folk acoustics). That means big, sweeping musical pieces, alternatively epic, melancholy and brutal. Sometimes hollow like a dark, empty void, other times ice-cold like Nordic winters, Astaroth weaves many a mood over this relatively short but sweet blackened sojourn. I find myself impressed enough to begin immediate excavation of their back catalog for more rich doomy, blackened goodness. To decide if you might feel the same, read all the fine words below, in order.