“If you are a false, don’t entry!” And if you are a false, do enter, because the only rule of this weekly section, in which we present you three short blurbs on music we are currently listening to, is that we are under no circumstance allowed to press the enter key. All of these little reviews shall thus consist of one paragraph only. The more this rule renders the blurb illegible, the more the writer has failed. Check back every Friday for a fresh haul of Don’t Enter.
Poland has a long-standing tradition of black metal, but they do not always get the credit they deserve. Why? For one, they were initially overshadowed by the Scandinavian scenes. The fact that much early Polish BM is at least in some way tied to their thriving NS scene, as well as the Polish tendency towards – even by BM standards – sloppy performance and production have further contributed towards their comparative obscurity. Reason enough for us to go back in time and plunge
r ourselves into the depths of coarse Polish BM. Kurwabunga, dude.
Veles – Night on the bare mountain | Poland, 1995
Veles‘s debut album Night on the bare mountain is one of the best examples of Polish (and by extension Slavonic) black metal because it is so raw. ‘Raw’ is a much overused term in black metal rhetoric, but here is it justified. For Veles embodies the purest yet filthiest distillation of a sound that became more developed, polished and often gentrified as years went by. The band’s performance is downright amateuristic, with each song constituting an offensively sloppy black metal assault drenched in intoxicated berserker aggression. With its horrid drumming, ruthless vocals, cheesy keyboards (courtesy of Graveland‘s Rob Darken) and careless production, this record emerges as a hideous monument of barbaric spontaneity. Night on the bare mountain is imbued with the urgency of possessed men; lunatics who merely require a conduit for their visions of terror, reluctant as they are to soil their coarse instincts with further thought or reason. On the flipside, such a primal state of mind is also necessary to enjoy the record, as it is far less accessible than the early work of bands such as Nokturnal Mortum and Dub Buk, which deliver the same keyboard-driven barbarism yet coordinate their blows against decadent civilisation a tad more carefully. If you want a raw deal but cherish a comatose aversion towards try-hard roid rage war metal, Veles provides you with a way out. |Degtyarov
Szron – The purificating flame of annihilation | Poland, 2004
Szron‘s 2004 opus The purificating flame of annihilation is ripped straight out of the textbook for Polish black metal; it is characterized by an inveterate hatred, a frigid, unfeeling atmosphere, callous references to nazism and the holocaust, simple, direct instrumentation, etc. Insofar as it follows a very familiar pattern in the regional style, it is the very definition of a formulaic record – and yet it is not defined by the formula. It is instead defined by its piercing vision of the Darkness, of the Black Infinity; the total non-reality of the Void is given reality by the aural descriptions of its anti-cosmic power. It is a nihilistic force in an almost physical sense of the word; this looming lunar black mass, this drunken Kali, seems to attain sensible dimensions as some nocturnal blanket that aims to oppress all life. The music likewise has this telluric quality that emits from its rhythmic base, for ‘atmosphere’ is not actually the main objective of this album, but a happy accident that proceeds from the success of the blind, scathing assault of the rhythm, which is this album’s main objective. A definite, tightly controlled harmony develops from the pulsing rhythm section, which installs straight and syncopated beats to the effect of a striding and persuasive energy, and from the modest, downplayed melodies that are subordinated to the rhythmic tempo. The overall impression is something infectious, physically alluring and invigorating, and yet still promoting a miasmic accentuation that warns and frightens the listener of the encroaching sickness. The ideals which we cherish are inverted into a blasphemous parody upon the recognition of their fleeting, secondary nature. The purificating flame of annihilation aims strictly for rhythmic cohesion, which affords it a propulsive musical meter that burns brightly, incinerating that which mould and rust and decay have made impotent, paralyzed; in the darkness of destruction the old and the weak are purified into something young and strong. |Maximus
Honor / Graveland – Raiders of revenge | Poland, 2000
Raiders of revenge is one of those splits that you know resulted from a personal relationship between the participating band members rather than being rooted in musical similarities. Rob Darken’s contribution consists of three songs that mainly seem to serve as a crash course in Gravelandology for those who somehow managed to be oblivious to the band’s existence. The foreboding melodies, dominant choirs and mechanical drums are all present and make for songs that, while not bad, are too easily forgotten among the rest of Graveland‘s mid-era output. Honor, on the other hand, use the occasion to conclude their transformation from a RAC to a metal band, a process that already proved to be in an advanced state on their full-length W płomieniach wschodzącej siły, released in the same year as this split. Honor‘s contribution to Raiders of revenge even takes things a step further by delivering crushing, dramatic riffs, prominent double bass drums and a production tantamount to black metal’s habitual ribaldry. In terms of structure, Honor compositions such as “Młot Antychrysta” and “Najeźdzcy” still show traces of the band’s Oi history, but they are performed as if they were full-fledged black metal offerings, an approach that late Mariusz Szczerski’s signature thunderous voice lends itself particularly well to. In the eyes of those who are more than a little autistic about what they accept as metal, Honor perhaps offers ‘pseudo-metal’, but regardless of any pointless categorisation polemics, the result is harsh, brutal, unforgiving music that breathes fire, war and death (just listen to the intro riff of “Gniew”!). Honor‘s way of approaching black metal with Oi/punk as a starting point might have been the key to its success, given that experiments which move in the other direction so often result in teary-eyed wimpcore for perpetual bedwetters. In any case, Raiders of revenge offers the loudest, darkest material that Honor ever ended up recording, and as such it would’ve worked just fine as a standalone EP of said band; Graveland‘s contribution is but a nice bonus, nothing more. |Degtyarov