Album Review – Mettadone / Rotten Flattery (2019)

This talented Ukrainian entity returns after four long years with a much darker and rawer sound, bringing to our ears first-class European Death and Doom Metal.

Formed in 2014 as a Gothic-doom duo by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Evgeniy Shamarin in Kharkiv, a city in northeast Ukraine which is considered the Black Metal capital of the country, Death/Doom Metal unity Mettadone are ready to crush with a brand new lineup and musical direction in their sophomore album Rotten Flattery, highly recommended for fans of bands with a classic 90’s European sound such as Hypocrisy, Edge of Sanity and Paradise Lost. Comprised of the aforementioned Evgeniy on vocals and lead guitar, Sergey Baskakov also on the guitar, Alexander Chernyakhovsky on bass and Alexey Silenko on drums, Mettadone decided to venture through much darker and devilish lands in Rotten Flattery than what we were able to witness in their debut album Invisible Disease, mainly thanks to Evgeniy moving from drums to vocals and guitar when their previous vocalist left the band, switching from their My Dying Bride-inspired sonority to a much rawer approach, consequently sounding closer to other amazing underground acts like Warcrab, Moss Upon The Skull, Refusal and their countrymen 1914.

The quartet begins hammering their instruments mercilessly in the opening track Mind’s Prisoner, showcasing a well-balanced fusion of classic Death Metal and old school Doom Metal (and even Blackened Doom), with Evgeniy growling like a demon while Alexey crushes his drums in great fashion; whereas in Obscurity of Hypocrisy they keep blasting hatred and rage in the form of extreme music, with the band’s guitar duo Evgeniy and Sergey being on absolute fire, adding a welcome touch of evil to the music with their raw, razor-edged riffs. Then Alexander and Alexey extract pure metallic and utterly menacing sounds form their respective instruments in Untrue Entity, generating a thunderous atmosphere perfect for Evgeniy’s demented roars, resulting in six minutes of darkened sounds perfect for banging your head like there’s no tomorrow. And in Pray for Help we’re treated to a more ferocious version of classic Sludge and Doom Metal, with symphonic elements bringing epicness and melancholy to the overall musicality. Furthermore, it’s a pleasure to listen to Alexey on drums, as he can be at the same time infernal and very technical, never letting the music get stale or tiresome.

Living up to the legacy of underground Doom Metal, the quartet delivers the Stygian tune On the Verge, showcasing a beautiful work done by Evgeniy, Sergey and Alexander with their stringed weapons, and also presenting some clean vocals and crisp guitar solos as “bonuses” for our avid ears. In a Funeral Home showcases creepy piano notes intertwined with cutting riffs and pounding drums in what’s the darkest of all songs of the album with its seven minutes of demonic sounds and a strong feeling of hopelessness, just the way we like it in old school doom, also sounding very progressive and intricate from start to finish. Act of Revenge is another song tailored for ripping your spinal chord headbanging where Evgeniy’s growls get deeper and deeper as the music progresses, with the band’s guitarists being in absolute sync, therefore delivering flammable riffs from their axes while Alexey dictates the rhythm with his hellish beats. The last track from the regular version of the album, entitled Orphan, will pierce your ears and minds with its classic Doom Metal sonority infused with Death Metal nuances, and you better be ready because the quartet won’t stop hitting you hard with their vicious music, with the song’s ending being an interesting mix of the Death Metal by Unleashed with the obscure music by Paradise Lost. And lastly, Mettadone offer us more of their dark and visceral music in the bonus track He’ll Not Be Alive, where Evgeniy keeps gnarling demonically while his bandmates fire insanity and violence from their instruments, with the strident sound of guitars being simply fantastic and extremely enjoyable.

After listening to Rotten Flattery, I’m more than sure this new version of Mettadone is here to stay, providing fans of obscure doom and death everything they can ask for in underground extreme music. Hence, don’t forget to give Mettadone a shout on Facebook and on VKontakte, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their visceral music, and obviously to purchase a copy of Rotten Flattery from the Archaic Sound’s BandCamp page or from Discogs. After all is said and done, although Kharkiv might be considered the Black Metal capital of Ukraine, let’s say that the city also has its share of first-class Death and Doom Metal to offer us fans, thanks to the great job done by Mettadone in their brand new opus and hopefully in many more to come in their promising career.

Best moments of the album: Obscurity of Hypocrisy, Pray for Help and Act of Revenge.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Archaic Sound

Track listing
1. Mind’s Prisoner 7:10
2. Obscurity of Hypocrisy 4:26
3. Untrue Entity 6:16
4. Pray for Help 5:31
5. On the Verge 6:41
6. In a Funeral Home 7:06
7. Act of Revenge 5:26
8. Orphan 7:34

Bonus track
9. He’ll Not Be Alive 3:49

Band members
Evgeniy Shamarin – lead vocals, guitars
Sergey Baskakov – guitars
Alexander Chernyakhovsky – bass
Alexey Silenko – drums

Album Review – Barkasth / Decaying (2018)

A new formation on the landscape of the Ukrainian Black Metal scene reveals the dark side of idolatry on human life and demonstrates the result of this pernicious influence in their debut full-length opus.

It’s time to get devilish, heavy and blasphemous with the interesting fusion of classic Black Metal with Melodic Black Metal and Blackened Doom blasted by a four-piece act hailing from Ukraine comprised of Arkhonth on guitars and vocals, Goreon also on guitars and vocals, Hagalth on bass and Malet on drums, collectively known as Barkasth. Formed in 2015 in Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine located in the northeast part of the country, Barkasth are spreading darkness not only in their homeland but everywhere else in the world with their debut full-length album, simply titled Decaying.

A new formation on the landscape of the Ukrainian Black Metal scene, Barkasth’s source of inspiration is a radically negative attitude towards religion, in any of its manifestations, as the main cause of obscurantism and distorted perception of reality – the main indicator for the level of ignorance of a contemporary man. Throughout the seven unrelenting tracks in Decaying, this Stygian horde reveals the dark side of idolatry on human life and demonstrates the result of this pernicious influence. In other words, the music by Barkasth presents no artificial elements nor any other type of shenanigans added to it, going straight to the point and showing the world Black Metal is still one of the most effective weapons against all forms of religion.

And the opening track Begging By Freaks comes crushing with a classic and epic beginning that beautifully evolves into a mid-tempo, blackened sonority where harsh and demonic growls are supported by the scorching riffs by  Arkhonth and Goreon. Put differently, this is a sulfurous and austere display of Melodic Black Metal infused with elements from Blackened Doom and traditional Doom Metal that will please all fans of the genre, whereas an even darker atmosphere serves as the background for the hellish Alone, with Malet delivering rhythmic but at the same time fierce beats while the harsh vocals by Arkhonth exhale blasphemy and hatred, all enfolded by a mesmerizing vibe. And in Blood & Flesh the band accelerates their pace, therefore reaching a more traditional Black Metal sonority with Malet delivering sheer darkness through his blast beast while Arkhonth growls like a true Black Metal veteran, turning it into one of the top moments of the album without any doubt, also showcasing cutting riffs that will pierce through your ears in a violent manner.

Soul Away gets back to a more introspective and obscure hybrid of Black Metal and Blackened Doom, with Arkhonth and Goreon, together with bassist Hagalth, shredding their strings mercilessly, while all the growling and roaring gets as deep, reverberating and demonic as possible; but it’s when they focus on their darkest and most aggressive Black Metal side that they truly thrive, and the title-track Decaying is the perfect depiction of that, with the entire band sounding flammable and infernal, in special Malet with his always demolishing and melodic beats. Then their disturbing and demonic vein arises once again in the visceral hymn Shepherd, with the sound of guitars penetrating deep inside your flesh amidst a feast of desperate and deep roars, not to mention how vile the whole ambience feels. Lastly, as the icing on the cake we have another cryptic, low-tuned aria of darkness entitled …Where Was The Son Of God, where the Doom Metal-inspired beats by Malet are flawlessly complemented by the guitar duo’s anguished lines, resulting in a captivating and very harmonious ending to the album.

Decaying, which is available for a full (and darkened) listen on YouTube and for purchase from the band’s own BandCamp page or from the Svarga Music mailorder, might be far from being a masterpiece or a reference in Black Metal, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an extremely well-crafted and solid album by this hardworking quartet, positioning Barkasth as one of the most promising new acts from the Ukrainian scene and definitely a band to keep an eye on in the coming years. Especially if, just like Barkasth’s band members, you also believe religion is one of the main factors in the imminent and inevitable downfall of our rotten society.

Best moments of the album: Blood & Flesh and Decaying.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Svarga Music

Track listing
1. Begging By Freaks 6:15
2. Alone 7:16
3. Blood & Flesh 5:53
4. Soul Away 5:17
5. Decaying 5:08
6. Shepherd 6:02
7. …Where Was The Son Of God 6:36

Band members
Arkhonth – guitars, vocals
Goreon – guitars, vocals
Hagalth – bass
Malet – drums

Album Review – Dub Buk / Цвях (2014)

If you’re a fan of extreme music, you should definitely take a listen to the excellent new album from this East Slavic Melodic Black Metal band.

Rating4

coverI’ve never had to use Google and Google Translator so much in my life to try to understand what a band wants to say in their music as I had now with Ukrainian Melodic Black Metal band Dub Buk and their new album, the violent Цвях. Even with the help of Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s creations, it was still pretty tough to get the whole message (if you’re Ukrainian, please correct any stupid mistake that I might have made with the translations below), but the high quality of their music outshines that language barrier and makes listening the entire album a very pleasant and, of course, boisterous experience.

Цвях, which according to Google is pronounced “Tsvyakh” and means “Nail” in English (and it makes sense, as per the bloody nail in the album art), is in my opinion the most professional and polished release from this Kharkiv-based band formed in 1997. And before you ask, that doesn’t weaken the brutality in any of the songs presented in the album: quite the contrary, the high end production allowed the band to better display their technique and enhanced the sonority of all instruments.

The first track of the album is called Всуе (Vsue, or “Vain” in English), and it’s a fuckin’ awesome massacre. The astonishing level of violence in this song pumped me up to listen to the rest of the album and check if all songs could keep up with the same excellent instrumental, especially drums and riffs, and the totally demonic vocals. Fortunately for my total delectation the following track, Галиматья Блаженных (Halymat’ya Blazhennykh, or “Blessed Nonsense”) is Black Metal at its finest, with a very nice groove and an excellent guitar solo, testifying the band’s capacity.

Then we have Бунт 917 (Bunt 917, or “Riot 917”), another track that corroborates these guys are nonstop machines, with great vocals (although I don’t understand a word he’s saying) and a drummer that is a total beast; Дохлый Живьём (Dokhlyy Zhyv’ëm, or “Dead Alive”), the longest track of the album, which starts with an awesome scream and has riffs with some hints of more modern Slayer; and the also violent but not so good Ислам (Yslam, or “Islam”). I’m almost sure they’re not saying good things about Islam in this song, but again, I really don’t care and prefer focusing on the music here.

Свиное Ухо (Svynoe Ukho, or “Pork Ear”) is another highlight of the album, with a narrated intro in Ukranian, Slayer-ish riffs and guitar solo, a goddamn heavy passage at around 2 minutes, and disturbing pig sounds at the end. In other words, a complete Black Metal extravaganza, followed by А-Человек (A-Chelovek, or “A-Man”), an average song with a slower rhythm that falls flat after a while.

dub_bukClosing the album we have the sonic massacre Копоть (Kopot’, or “Soot”), with more awesome riffs, some beautiful female vocals, a drummer completely on fire, and I have to say I really enjoyed all the breaks and variations in this song especially after the third minute; and the only song entirely in English in the album,Execute Them All, a very professional cover version for one of the songs from Swedish Death Metal icons Unleashed, with highlight to the deeper guttural used in this track.

As I mentioned above, I tried to understand parts of the lyrics just to see what type of message Dub Buk tries to send to their fans. I know they usually sing about anti-judeochristianity, paganism and other controversial themes, and although I do not agree nor disagree with their beliefs, that didn’t stop me from enjoying some very good quality extreme music. Furthermore, I recommend taking a look at this album, which can be purchased at the EastHate website. If you love Black Metal, you won’t regret buying it by any means.

Best moments of the album: Всуе, Дохлый Живьём, Свиное Ухо and Копоть.

Worst moments of the album: Ислам and А-Человек.

Released in 2014 Eastside Records

Track listing
1. Всуе 5:21
2. Галиматья Блаженных 3:26
3. Бунт 917 4:42
4. Дохлый Живьём 6:03
5. Ислам 5:22
6. Свиное Ухо 4:27
7. А-Человек 4:58
8. Копоть 5:35
9. Execute Them All (Unleashed cover) 3:22

Band members
I.Z.V.E.R.G. (И. З. В. Е. Р. Г.) – bass, vocals
Vsesvit (Всесвит) – drums
Istukan (Истукан) – guitars
Cwietuszczaja Knjazna (Цветущая Княжна) – keyboards