Nekrart Productions, 28.03.18
Eight moons ago, we visited the Canadian one-man band Ifernach, and its second EP, Maqtewek Nakuset.
I suggested that there were a fair chance of native American blood running in the veins of Finian Patraic, something I've got confirmed in the meantime.
On Gaqtaqaiaq, Finian tells ancient stories passed on by the elder among his people, and he recites archaic rituals to summon ancient spirits to avenge the forgotten native souls. In both Mi'kmaq, the native tongue of this tribe, and French.
I've considered Gaqtaqaiaq a full-length up to the moment of writing this. That's how I interpreted the press letter. Albeit somewhat short in duration (just about half a minute longer than the standard, set by Reign In Blood), Gaqtaqaiaq contains no less than nine tracks. I've accepted this as the case ever since I first wrote the draft for this review no less than 7 full moons ago. (Holy shit how time flies!) Encyclopaedia Metallum, however, insists it's an EP. (Finian may define the release as whatever the hell he wants for me. For...)
With a duration of 29 minutes, the release has enough time to drift and float around in the brain before ending. As on the previos EP, the different tracks have slightly different expressions to show for, if not to the same extent. The variation from song to song is present, if not in abundant amounts. The variation within each song is also acceptable, if not much more than necessary. As suspected, the sound is quite under-produced this time as well. It admittedly contributes to a genuine touch of wild and untamed soul and/or nature. And for indigenous Americans, soul and nature are often intertwined.
The music does lack a little bit of depth, but Chief Patraic delivers an atmosphere that appears heartfelt, whether the music is calm and atmospheric or ugly, dirty, rough and raw. Gaqtaqaiaq might not achieve the same atmosphere of cold dejection, isolation and misery as former prominent acts in Quebec's scene. Where bands like Sorcier des Glaces delivered saddened atmosphere with sharp, necrotic sound, Ifernach on this occasion serves a mood of sadness and injustice wrapped in reasonably rotten sound. It sounds a bit as if dust bunnies have invaded the speakers, or as if the recording was done on a simple cassette recorder. I still can't help enjoying the release, as the music is tough and packed with moody and harsh melody lines.
The symphonic intro ➳ and the just as orchestral interlude ↟ ↟ ↟ stands out, both in unpronuncable titles and musical expression. Moments of authentic sounds of local culture and natural habitat also appear, as in the last half of Naufragés, where drums and dripping water echo in a cave, and in the last minute of the release, as Métal sauvage gaspésis rounds off with traditional ceremonial song performed by eagle-feather decorated warriors accompanied by turtle shell rattles. Or so I imagine.
Otherwise, I'm somewhat drawn between two overall impressions. On the one hand, much of the song material is unfortunately a bit simple in structure. The thrust and energy, the rhythm and melody-lines still compensates quite well for this. And when the album/EP finally sticks to the mind after many a round, the song material is actually quite cool. Thus the coarse sound is what tilts the scale. And as we all know, sound is a subjective thing. As a debut album, it does not quite meet my expectations. Considered as an EP, on the other hand, such can easier be forgiven.
Other aspects to add to the equation, although they don't weigh as much in the balance, is that an authentic taste of North American indigenous peoples ain't exactly a downtrodden path in depleted soil. Black, primitive metal with some originality to it, and a chief who clearly display commitment, is always welcome.
On the other hand, once again, the songs aren't especially memorable. Said final song, however, stuck to me immediately. With its reckless punk drift, this stands as a favourite after quite a few spins. If you have a taste for truly unpolished extreme metal with aggressive drive and genuine spirit, you should give this release a chance. Preferably a fair amount of times. If not, you can scale down the grade and do whatever you like. Rating: 4-
Recently, the Nidrosian band Katechon announced a few new songs from their upcoming work. A work with the potentially controversial title Sanger Fra Auschwitz (Songs From Auschwitz).
However, the guys assure that no vulgar intentions are intended.
In that connection, I came across the Coronation Bonus Tracks EP, released a pregnancy ago.
As the title hints at, these two songs were recorded during the Coronation session. Of which the cover art depicted the fetus in all its abomination.
The two leftover tracks, are simply called I and II, and lasts for 7.5 minutes altogether.
Demonic moods apply even here, although the calculating semi-chaotic structure is somewhat muted.
The album had an underlying sense of an unstable psyche, that made the controlled chaos of the expression uncontrollable, if that makes any sense at all. This feeling of ingenious intensity on the verge of a mental breakdown, feels a little toned down here. The overhanging danger is not quite as critical, nor imminent.
That the two songs don't give me just as strong a vibe of something undefinably dangerous, doesn't mean they're not any good. Lika a not all that quiet before the storm, when the storm has already begun building up, these can in some ways work as a preludium to Coronation, that can be played as an appetizer or intro, rather than dessert, the next time you give the album a spin.
Exactly when the follow-up Sanger Fra Auschwitz is being released, only the Devil knows, but at the moment, four songs are streaming at Bandcamp.