In the new Check 'Em All material we recall the most interesting LPs, EPs, and singles from Ukrainian black metal bands which were released in 2017.
Balfor — "Black Serpent Rising"
It took more than six years for the Kyiv-based metal act Balfor to release their third full-length collection of merciless and barbarously bold black metal.
The first thing that this grim release opens to the listener is an excellent form that the band has kept, honing their skills and style with a tight tour schedule. The record from the start captivates with energetic tremolo riffs and a hail of aggressive drums. At the same time, Balfor skilfully alternates rich rhythms, allowing themselves to take a step towards powerful progressive parts, supplemented by no less brisk solos.
The general gloomy sound of "Black Serpent Rising" is saturated with a number of sound effects, impressive backing vocals and chorus elements which make the album quite atmospheric and impressive.
Bergrizen — "Der Unsterbliche Geist"
In November, the Kyiv-based solo project Bergrizen presented its fifth full-length album. Full of frenzy, grief and desperation, "Der Unsterbliche Geis" has collected six thematic tracks which are telling about the black trails of human life.
Bezmir — "Void"
"Void" is the June’s debut of the new-formed project Bezmir, founded by the Dnipro’s musician associated with such black metal acts as Endless Battle, Severoth, and Морок.
Despite the fact that some features of this aggressive release, including the logo and cover in black and white colors, reminds of the works of the Swiss cosmic black metal project Darkspace, it still retains its identity and collected a number of its own advantages.
High-speed and cold "Void" with raw black metal elements goes far beyond the genre, declared by the author, and impresses with the classical sound in the spirit of Immortal of 1995’s "Battles In The North" times.
Burshtyn — "Безвірник"
In November, the Kharkiv-based metallers Burshtyn presented their second studio album "Безвірник", frankly catching the listener by its vigorous guitar riffs and a range of folk instruments which, thanks to their moderate number, give the record a noticeable freshness.
A hail of violent drums, a genuine aggression in the vocals and convulsive tremolo riffs keep your attention throughout all six album’s tracks.
Eskapism — "Tales Of Elder Forest"
Following two atmospheric singles, the Lviv’s duo Eskapism presented its debut full-length album "Tales Of Elder Forest" in February. Recording of all instruments, mixing, and mastering were handled by the musicians themselves, and part of the author's lyrics was combined with the works of Ukrainian classic poets — Lesya Ukrainka and Ivan Franko.
A rich melodious debut raises the theme of nature and features of its phenomena in different seasons.
Kaosophia — "Serpenti Vortex"
Kaosophia have also placed a portion of high-quality black metal in their second studio album "Serpenti Vortex". A grim occult release with a noticeably matured sound of the band stands out by its dense atmosphere which Kaosophia managed to create with skillfully alternate of powerful guitars and percussion parts from slow to fast ones. The general sullen picture is complimented by no less harmonious roaring vocals, sometimes adding to it light echo effects.
Nabaath — "Firestorm Bringer"
On August 17, the Kyiv-based black metal horde Nabaath released its "Firestorm Bringer" EP via Noizr Productions. The band's new record includes two furious compositions — "Corpses of All Religions" and the title track "Firestorm Bringer", as well as a short atmospheric outro "Voices of Hell".
N•O — "Adrestia"
Two years after its foundation, the side project N•O, featuring musicians from the Ukrainian metal acts Cantabile Wind and Vin de Mia Trix, as well as former members of Balfor, Schizogen, and other bands, released its debut album "Adrestia".
The viscous, glum post-black metal record, released in October via Throats Productions, catches the listener by its unpredictable rhythm twists, strictly preserved album concept, and impressively powerful vocals.
Nokturnal Mortum — "Істина"
"Verity" became one of the releases, which were included in the TOP-5 albums, selected by Noizr Zine’s editor for The Best Ukrainian Metal Act award ceremony. Follow the link to read a detailed review for the LP which "reveals to the listener a whole book of ancient cults, human being, spiritual forces and oppositions".
Raventale — "Planetarium"
According to the tradition that has developed over the last few years, in October, the Kyiv-based band Raventale revealed its new studio album. The eighth record is exactly that expressive melodic black metal opus without superfluous flavors which, perhaps, is a priori waited from the band.
Unlike its 2015’s conceptual predecessor "Dark Substance of Dharma", but not for the first time in the project’s discography, the full-length album consists of only four tracks. Matching its release date, a rather aggressive album brings together landscapes that are both cold and saturated with the colors of autumn. However, the record is devoted to a completely different theme, namely, the new order and the new Chaos, which are supposedly followed by total world nullification.Raventale — "Planetarium"
Sanatana — "Brahma"
The second album of this selection, also included in the TOP-5 albums for The Best Ukrainian Metal Act. The release skillfully combines black metal with symphonic metal and the so-called vedic metal.
Severoth — "Forestpaths"
"Forestpaths" is the third full-length album in the discography of the ambient black metal project of the Dnipro-based musician Severoth, the author of the above-mentioned Bezmir’s debut record.
Contrary to the warm time of the year of its release, this March’s album carries the listener to the heart of the frozen Carpathian forests, where it leaves you alone with the chilling winds and the howling of predators to the moon.
White Ward — "Futility Report"
The Odesa-based metal act White Ward threw down a challenge to the black metal genre by releasing its debut album "Futility Report", complementing its enough already unusual tracklist with jazz parts of a saxophone. An unpredictable combination of aggression with gentle notes of the wind instrument gives the record a special atmosphere of gloomy insanity.
The album also took second place in the TOP-5 releases for The Best Ukrainian Metal Act.
Windswept — "The Great Cold Steppe"
The new side project of the Kharkiv’s metallist Roman Saenko, known far beyond Ukraine as the leader of the folk black metal act Drudkh, presented its debut LP "The Great Cold Steppe". The record, released in March via Season Of Mist, collected six relevant to the title, rough and cold tracks, to create which the musicians were inspired "by the hostile and fierce Eastern steppes during winter time".
According to the information on the label's website, the album was recorded just in only three days without rehearsals. The LP’s feature is an improvisation with both instruments and with vocals, which made the sound of the record quite close to the live performance.
Чорнотоп — "За обрієм диких вогнів" (сингл)
"Behind the Halo of the Wild Lights" is the new single of the Ukrainian musician and founder of the atmospheric black metal project Chornotop by Roman Sapozhnikov. The rich sounding track, which combines the strident melody of the violin, the acoustic guitar part and the aggressive impulse of heavy riffs, the composer dedicated to his brother Alexei, who died in the East of Ukraine in the battles for the occupied city of Lugansk.
The single was released online this December. According to the author, the song will appear on the project’s debut album which is now at its final stage of work.
By Yuri Somov
Review for Nabaath, Nokturnal Mortum, Sanatana by Anastezia