While Eastern Europe probably isn’t the first place that would normally jump to the forefront of your mind when you hear the term “Black Metal” thrown around- it’s undeniable once you’ve sifted through a whole bunch of bands from around the world that the Eastern European Black Metal scene is quite bustling. Scandinavia is easily one of the most prominent Black Metal scenes, but Eastern Europe is certainly home to many hidden gems. Drudkh is obviously one of the most famous, aside from the Behemoth that is Behemoth coming from Poland, then you have Mgla making a huge name for itself, and then there’s plenty of other Ukrainian bands that have members from Drudkh like Blood of Kingu, Hate Forest and so on, and then there’s plenty of Black Metal bands that come out of russia. Even amongst Eastern European countries though there are a few bands that come from countries that I’m sure your average American probably wouldn’t even be able to point to on a map, like say, Moldova for example. The particular band we’re talking about today though happens to come from Belarus- which is actually quite exciting for me considering how commonly Belarus seems to be overshadowed by russia and Ukraine comparatively. The album we’re talking about is Da varot apramietnaj by the 3-piece band from Minsk, Atruta.
To kick things off, the first track starts off with a relatively melodic sound, soaked with a bit of a melancholic atmosphere. The vocals have a wretched, almost snarly quality to them, like how you’d imagine a spite-filled werewolf might sound- and from the very beginning it seems like this band knows how to make a riff with a killer hook, because it has a couple hooks that sound especially catchy and epic- even managing to carry some pretty bitter undertones with it. The bass is pretty audible in the mix, and it’s really good about adding a really nice punchy feeling to the riffs, and I find them to be really quite commendable. The drumming is pretty good as well, they keep up with the rest of the music and transition almost seamlessly for the most part, and they sound pretty lively and organic- I didn’t really have much to complain about the drumming. Then, pretty much in each song on the album, it seems like nearly all of them have shredding solos that I would honestly call beautiful. And I’d say that for the most part these are definitely your constants throughout the album. Punchy bass, decent drumming and amazing solos. And when it comes to the riffs though… the most constant thing about them is how consistently catchy they are.
There’s so many memorable riffs throughout the entire album, and it ranges stylistically quite a bit. I honestly had to double check where these guys were from, because when I first heard them I honestly thought that they sounded like they could’ve been Finnish, because I was getting some heavy Sargeist or Satanic Warmaster vibes especially, because a lot of the riffs just have this furious and dark yet melodic style, especially in the faster sections. Even though I wouldn’t consider it to be Atmospheric Black Metal by any means, it is very much soaked in atmosphere in the slower sections especially, which often have a pretty intense build-up with a satisfying payoff, like in the song “Pustata” for example, which has a very intense atmospheric build-up, and once it reaches its climax, it kind of just sounds like what I’d describe as being almost complete perfection, with a VERY infectious, heavy metal infused hook- and this is about the point where I realized that a lot of the strong heavy metal influence that I hear in many of the riffs throughout the album actually remind me a lot of Varathron, and that kind of made my enjoyment for this album- an album I was already enjoying up until this point mind you- skyrocket, because I absolutely love Varathron. But the thing is, is that every song has so many of these memorable riffs, hooks, solos, etc., and you honestly can’t help but wonder how they keep on coming up with such an endless supply of killer riffs! They are clearly blessed by the riff gods or something, because it’s ridiculous how there’s not a single song on this album that doesn’t have ridiculously catchy moments. “Ad Turmy Zvanaj Cietam” has to be one of my favorite tracks on the album because of how much it reminds me of Sargeist, or even Taake. This is definitely one of those difficult albums to describe for me, just because you can sum up the style quite a bit, but with the richness in expression, this whole album just manages to stay so fresh with each passing song. It can range from sounding somber or melancholic, grim and foreboding, but it even has moments that seem almost triumphant, and probably plenty of other emotions I can’t entirely describe simply by using only one word. It’s one of those albums that gets harder and harder to pick a favorite track on the further you get into the album- I might’ve name dropped “Ad Turmy Zvanaj Cietam” earlier in this paragraph, but even after I wrote that down in my notes, I had to question if that one was really my “favorite”, just because it seems like it only gets better with each passing song. It’s really kind of like being forced into a position where you have to pick your favorite child in a way.
I think that’s mostly why I kind of feel like I have to refrain from covering this album track by track for the most part, because the whole album is better off being approached as an experience for what it is rather than, finding one song you like off of it and just sticking to it. That’s probably why I’d have to give this album probably about a 9/10 overall. It’s some amazing Black Metal, and while it seems to be a bit of an homage to a lot of 90’s Black Metal from all over the world, it still manages to be so fresh and unique throughout. The closest comparisons I can think of would be Sargeist, Satanic Warmaster, Varathron or even Taake, so definitely listen to this if you are into any of those bands. If you want to pick up a copy of this album on CD, check out their Bandcamp. Until then, I hope you find some good listens, and I hope you find JUST that thing that makes you feel a little bit more fulfilled today, because personally, I think we all need that in our life.
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