Year of release: 2017
Released by: Barbatos Productions
Rating: 8,2 / 10
If anyone does not know, ULVKROS is another good young formation from Belarus. The project - I'm 99% sure that it's solo - s shrouded in a veil of secrecy and anonymity, the fashion for which, frankly speaking, has already managed to become fucking annoying, almost as all these MGLA-like bags on the heads. A couple of years ago, digital copies of cassette demos appeared on the Web, which, however, neither I nor any of my acquaintances had ever seen, so the question arises whether these cassettes actually exist (besides the specimens captured in the photographs). In total there were three demos, and in 2017 Barbatos Productions released all of them on CD compilation, which I now have the honor to review.
Everything about ULVKROS in a good way resembles the beginning and middle of the 90s - starting with this theme with cassettes and ending with aesthetics and music. Even the tracklist tunes in the right way: if the cover of ISENGARD is still all right (although it is also rare), then the cover of MYSTERIES is already a serious statement. An ordinary metal listener from Ukraine easily understands Polish Cults, but our local shitheads, despite the close proximity, don't know a damn thing about that - they only interested in batushkas / bartushkas and fucking behemots. The music on the first and second demo has a lot of parallels with the same MYSTERIES, FULLMOON and other dangerous figures of the classic metal underground of Poland, but it has more melody. The second demo, perhaps, is even closer to the late BILSKIRNIR with its RAC rhythm. Local giants KAMAEDZITCA also ran somewhere nearby (probably to the training in the gym). Interestingly, the sound of both demo is very bad: home-made baking in a not very successful manifestation - vocal recorded in a karaoke microphone, a bad drum machine, and so on. Only the guitar sounds fine. But the author did not complicate the music with some tricky arrangements, so the home sound is perceived almost without irritation. In a strange way, he managed to hook on the archaic atmosphere that we are looking for in such music. Of course, this is not Isengard Studio, but what in this world sounds like Isengard Studio today? Nothing, I say.
The text part of the demo shows that, despite the obvious NS bias, ULVKROS is far from the modern examples of pure political propaganda translated into music. This is quite unfashionable right-wing radicalism which can be found in old bands like our ŠTURM, as well as in acting, but old-school ones, like SATANIC WARMASTER. Images of forests, swamps, mists and ancient castles, rituals to the glory of the Black Sun, the war for the native land - and all this comes from a perspective that is very close to Black Metal.
The third demo starts from the track, which, according to the Internet, was not on the tape (but in vain) - “Balotnyja ahni”. This is one of the most powerful things on the compilation: a terribly old ambient that resurrects the very, very early recordings of MORTIIS or, say, GRAVELAND. It turns out that almost all the third demo consists of ambient and acoustics, and in it the spirit of the early 90s is as strong as ever - probably because the home origin of the recording does not matter. A synthesizer is always a synthetizer, especially with such simple and atmospheric parts. The material from the third demo is great, and if you ask me to compare it with the first two, then I find it difficult to say what I like more. The collection ends with the aforementioned MYSTERIES cover, for which a new text was written in Belarusian. The cover turned out to be powerful, and the drums here suspiciously resemble real ones.
As a result, I confidently assert that my attitude towards ULVKROS, thanks to this compilation, has become extremely positive - even despite the guy's ignoring the suggestion to do an interview. The minor flaws of the recording and music do not take away the positive qualities and rare kind of spirituality. In view of this, the release of the disc on Barbatos seems a musician's miscalculation to me. Ermak, without changing his principles, blurted out 100 copies with a primitive design, saving on everything (well, and then there was also a traditional seven-inch split for fifteen hundred rubles). Underground is underground, but I believe that ULVKROS deserves more. owever, the cheapness partly went to the benefit: this awful computed-made cover that you can see above on matte paper turned into a very atmospheric canvas, which is revealed in all its glory when you unfold a short booklet. It's good that there are texts inside. You can look at everything closer in this video.