Year of release: 2012
Released by: Filosofem Records
Rating: 6,8 / 10
I'm analyzing a small package from Hungary, from the author / publisher of the WITCHER project, containing two actual releases. I think some readers of Bagnik Zine have heard of WITCHER as well as VRAG, another brainchild of Roland Neubauer, that often collects dust in underground distros. Everything I heard from VARG was horrible, but WITCHER is still better, it was just that this project was spoiled by the wrong choice of labels. The first demo was released by Depressive Illusions, the second was released by the Russian tandem Mercy Despise / Dark East, and the debut album was also reeased there. Frankly, such a track record automatically closes many doors for you, although WITCHER stood out favorably against the background of the slop that these labels spit out. I remember that in 2013 I even reviewed the second demo, which I liked then, although it was a bit corny.
The EP “Néma gyász” was released in 2012, and the version Roland sent me is a re-mixed one, released with new artwork and a bonus track previously released on a split with VELM. The re-mixing is good for the sound. The sound of WITCHER is not the best anyway, but the project also uses a characteristic Hungarian sound, where all the tracks supposedly dipped in oil to take the edge off. This is not always a bad thing, but it sometimes makes the sound too blurry and peaceful. The re-mixed version of the EP turned out to be more distinct, with an adequately matched volume (maybe only the vocals are too quiet).
Traditionally I will cross out the unnecessary: WITCHER positions itself on the flyer as “Atmospheric Black Metal”, and under the disc I found a swing at “Hungarian Witching Black Metal since 2010”, but, of course, you already guessed that “atmospheric” and “metal” are here in abundance, but "witching" and even more so "black" are not even close. I specially attended to the translation of the band's lyrics and did not find anything witching or satanic there. In fact, all the lyrics for the EP are doom-inspired; everywhere there is eloquent mourning for someone who has died, grieving over the impossibility of breaking out of the trap of the past, and so on.
Accordingly, in terms of music, everything here is very leisure and melancholic. From the very beginning, WITCHER was a duet: Roland does everything himself, and his faithful companion Carola plays only the keys. It would seem that here we have a typical case of nepotism, but them keyboards in WITCHER's songs are always present, so Karola isn't here for exotics only. Someone can get mad, because not everyone can withstand so many keyboards in metal. I found that they did not irritate me; after a while you start to perceive them as a second guitar. The keyboards work somewhere between archaic ambient and modern orchestrations, never leaning to one side. In combination with gentle tremolo riffs and imposing percussion, the overall picture is reminiscent of SUMMONING, ELDERWIND a little of old GRAVEWORM and very, very, very little of BURZUM. Outlines of mountains and forests in dense fog, mysterious figures in raincoats, crows in a heavy gray sky - dark romanticism. There are many melodies, riffs, fragments, interludes on the album, but they do not offer anything outstanding. This music is better perceived as a whole, without trying to delve into the peculiarities of its construction. In a separate category, the almost nine-minute instrumental number "Esőnap" is working, containing really strong, exemplary old-school synth ambient. Total recommendations.
I won't recommend the release itself so actively. “Néma gyász”, as they say, won’t set the Thames on fire, but it knows its own worth. There is something to scold it for, but there are still more reasons to praise it. Strong middlings like this EP are usually bad because they lack of character. They are insipid and unprincipled, although formally there is nothing to complain about. WITCHER has its timid features, so pleasant experience is guaranteed. The “Néma gyász” edition is delivered on CD in a Jewel case with a sticker in the form of the band's logo. The fold-out booklet contains all the texts, information and photos. The design, like the music, is uncomplicated, but atmospheric. Normal underground release. It is sold, by the way, for less than $ 7, and the digital version can be downloaded from Bandcamp for free. Details on a video.