Xtreem Music&Burning World, 11.07.17
Fully fledged black metal veterans most likely witnessed the rise of black metal as genre. Although I'm starting to get more hair in my ears than on my head, I hardly discovered the trend-setting pioneers until already beginning to get acquainted with tnbm. However, when the music of Doppelgänger gets started after two and a half minutes, it doesn't take many seconds before an apparent odour of Celtic Frost spreads.
The band from the scenic province of Asturias in north-western Spain also did start out, quite right, as a Celtic Frost tribute band.
The trio consists of three gentlemen with background from doom, stoner, thrash and hardcore. The name Totengott originates from German, and refers to a death deity, a ruler of the kingdom of the dead, such as Hades, Osiris, Hel, Nergal or Ereshkigal. Not unexpectedly, the name has also been used by a German (now disbanded) black metal band.
Following the inception in 2013, the band released the demo Lucifuge Rofocale, with five Celtic Frost cover songs, mainly picked from the Swiss early years, as well as the song Synagoga Satanae from their swan song, Monotheist (2006). It's this album Totengott seems to be most inspired by. The Demo Totengott, released in January 2016, featured three self-made compositions, the same songs now presented in professional re-recordings.
Doppelgänger shows a band that to some extent is a copy of the original's expression, but who is able to write own songs from the same universe. The question is whether the world needs yet another copy of doomy proto-black. The band succeeds in good flow and doomed melancholy, and the sound helps lift the expression. The songs still don't have the strongest compositional hooks, and they don't really give me anything. As such, I could as well have set the grading as disapproved, for my own part. However, I give the Spaniards the benefit of objective doubt.
It should be said that I'm not a big fan of the kind of traditional doom that this music lean toward either. In addition, I seem to remember that I appreciated Monotheist, but when I play excerpt now, it doesn't appeal nearly as much as what Tom G. Warrior later did with Triptykon. Listen and judge for yourself.
I, Voidhanger&Fallen Empire, 21/28.07.17 Tchornobog from the United States is governed like a dictatorship; by one man, but Markov Soroka (Aureole) has received assistance from a number of artists to realize his phonetic vision.
Unlike the intense ambient atmosphere of Aureole, a darker ethereal atmosphere is formed on Tchornobog's debut.
The band was conceived a few years ago. Yet, the first sign of life feels more like a dying star that inevitably collapses. It implodes, explodes and leaves a black hole with intense gravity.
A Černoboh, or Chernobog in English, is a Slavic idol whose name literally translates to black god. Markov isn't into idolatry, but has adopted this mythological character as a symbol of mankind's dark side, and the battle against inner demons. Through Tchornobog, Markov seeks to find meaning by way of mildly philosophical reflections loosely based on aspects concerning life and death. The result is dark and gloomy moods, and an ominous sonic atmosphere that should work well as a soundtrack for Lovecraft's literature.
The music consists of a dreamy, often doomed blend of death and depravity, and stygian kaleidoscopic discouraged misery. Four songs with long names and longer duration creates an eclectic mood, and its own absurd universe for more than an hour. The universe is spacious, varied and alien, but nevertheless oppressively claustrophobic and alarming.
Magnús Skúlason (Svartidauði) handles percussion, Hannar Gretarson (ex-Draugsól) plays trumpet and cello, Greg Chandler (Lychgate) contributes vocals on tracks 1 and 3, while Sofia Hedman plays saxophone.
The more I listen to Tchornobog, the deeper I sink into this dim, tar-like matter. To pull out of this tar pit may turn out to be difficult as this breathing black substance has secured its grip by sifting through the pores by imperceptible diffusion.