Źmiarćvieły – Čornaje Połymia Review

The Lords of the Promo Bin give and take away. Blessed be the name(s) of the Lord of the Promo Bin. Amen. We know not their multitude or power, as they manifest in mysterious ways. From the misleading to the surprising, we toil day in and day out in pursuit of futility and purpose: what promo will give life meaning again? It’s a game of chance, and one in which faith is constantly tested, but we must not lose heart. Because my hierarchy amid the apostles of the non-light was merely recent in its raising, my selections have resorted to merely names and artwork as the Promo Bin indifferent void yawns unceremoniously for the few of us who scrape its dregs. So as we approach the cold ‘n cruel Źmiarćvieły, we must ponder. Is it the fount of every blessing? Or is it the abyss into which the n00bs are cast?

Źmiarćvieły is an anonymous collective from Belarus… maybe. They keep it under wraps. Like the enigma of their members, number, or location, the name itself is shrouded in mystery, its translation from Belarusian is equally murky. Debut Čornaje Połymia is a childlike EP that managed to stack itself into an undercoat to get into the R-rated LP screening. It’s a gamble, truly, to submit your debut EP without notoriety – like the kid watching Adrienne’s liquid nitrogen murder in Jason X. It’s a blessing, then, that Čornaje Połymia is as solid as it is. Featuring a straightforward raw black metal offering tinged with occult flavors, it’s inconsistent as fuck, but ends up offering an appetizer for hopefully a tasty entrée to come.

The best Źmiarćvieły has to offer lies in its final two tracks “III” and “IV,” comprise fourteen minutes of the EP’s eighteen minute runtime. Featuring nicely raw riffs, bass emphasis, and above all, a nicely written dynamic, it recalls last year’s Svabhavat in its refreshing simplicity of Darkthrone shenanigans through a tastefully occult aesthetic, and each of these two tracks effectively communicates a dynamic that balances the raw, the dark, and the ugly. While not entirely unique or challenging, solid songwriting sets them apart, maneuvering furious riffs, placid menace, and a nearly Obsequiae-esque medieval melodic array with seamless ease. From the bass noodling and ambient folky outro of “IV” to the furious tremolo of “III,” these two tracks are solid indicators of an upward trajectory.

While the last two cuts are solid second-wave offerings, the first two find Źmiarćvieły missing the mark almost completely. Intro “I” is forty seconds of directionless organ music, and “II” features three-and-a-half minutes of the same riffs repeated ad nauseam. The latter, although initially restrained and simple, recalling Ancient Moon, nearly feels like 10:13 in its repetition and instrumental focus, dragging its relatively brief runtime to unbearable proportions. It’s a needlessly painful way to introduce an otherwise solid listen. Furthermore, what’s extremely frustrating about Čornaje Połymia is that it is an EP, and while the latter two tracks are promising, the short runtime of the entire release simply cannot give a representative snapshot of what Źmiarćvieły has to offer. Furthermore, while the production does a solid job in balancing the sound’s assets, the contrast between heftier bass-supported riffs and paper-thin tremolo is stark, particularly in “III.”

When “I” and “II” came on, I was about to 1.0 this bitch to high heaven. Only comprising five minutes of the EP’s length, it nonetheless made a poor impression with first glance. I was pleasantly surprised when the back half arrived, that in spite of its generally straightforward second-wave worship, Źmiarćvieły nonetheless professes life-saving songwriting through second-wave iciness with occult atmospherics. However, Čornaje Połymia is still a very brief EP, and only time will tell where roots are laid. No founts of blessings to be found here – while its feet are firmly planted on solid ground, it remains a stone’s throw from the wretched abyss.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Caligari Records
Website: 2 kvlt 4 u
Releases Worldwide: May 6th, 2021

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