Year of release: 2021
Released by: COD Label
Rating: 6,8 / 10
Few days ago, I received a hefty promotional package from the Russian publishing house COD Music and Distro, so in the near future I have to introduce you to music of a very specific nature. I'll start with the young group CHERNOPLOD, which seems to be from St. Petersburg, but, I suppose, was created by people who came to the city from the Pskov region. Both releases included in the compilation (demo of 2018 and 2020) were recorded in a village with the self-explanatory name Чёрное Захонье (can't translate this, sorry), and it looks accordingly to its name.
In recent years - with a huge delay - a trend has emerged on the Russian extreme scene: to explore the dark side of our culture, which even we in backward Belarus have long ago studied and applied in practice. Russian musicians finally woke up, and today every day you have a new band operating with the concept of "chthonic", throwing images of abandoned rural huts at the listener and exploiting the theme of orthodoxy and funerals. Old, green pictures of the dead and emaciated peasants are also highly regarded. I cannot say that I am delighted with this trend, but perhaps my latent, not entirely affectionate attitude towards Russian culture plays a role here. One way or another, everything is better than this pseudo-slavic cock worship that replaced the original beliefs of the Russified peoples.
Although the demos included in the collection are separated by two years, I got the impression that they are united by a common theme. Both have songs where the story is told from the perspective of a woman, presumably deceased. Almost everywhere they are talking about loneliness, desolation, death - in general, things familiar to the “new Russian” metal. Archaic words are also quite typical. When you read the lyrics without music, there are no special emotions, however, they work well with music, sometimes even evoking horror.
The music is indeed almost in line with the press release, which promises raw material subtly reminiscent of ILDJARN, SORT VOKTER and BBH. The latter, of course, we immediately discard, but the rest is true, although you can hardly imagine how it sounds. The first track creates a deceptive picture of majestic and intense atmospheric metal with hysterical emotive vocals (very bad one). In addition, there are female vocals and towards the end of the song there is an eerie fragment where several women at once seem to surround you, whining something vying with each other. The group includes as many as six vocalists, and I was ready to believe that all of them were involved here, but the digipak spread mentions only the vocalist Masha. Wonders of technology. From the second track, the style of the songs changes, carrying over to the second demo. The legs of ILDJARN and SORT VOKTER are already visible here: the basis of the compositions is made up of the most primitive riffs with a looped percussion, on which psychedelic and partly sudden keyboard parts are layered. The unpredictable and unhealthy nature of SORT VOKTER's music is indeed very close to what CHERNOPLOD has to offer, although I take some slight doubts about whether the Russian band was inspired by Norwegians. After all, they might have listened to some fucking BONE AWL. I must admit, if at first CHERNOPLOD is more annoying, then with repeated listening it starts to tighten. The music here is already quite serious for a demo, and the primitive basis does not at all exclude multilayer and variety. The closer to the end, the more instrumental sections and atmospheric fragments become, and the band is quite successful in making such things. The beautiful and dark song “Lyubava” with female group vocals is an example of this, as well as the purely instrumental track “Vershie”.
However, there are remarks. Squeals and squeaks in place of the main vocals are impossible to take seriously. Perhaps the musicians thought that covering the vocals with special effects was a good “chthonic” idea, but in fact this shitty harmonizer makes things evern worse. There is also such a thing that with intensive tracks, the information about recording material in the attic of a village hut involuntarily becomes a burden. The fact is that the group, again, uses additional audio effects everywhere, which, frankly, clutter up the recording. And I have not yet mentioned the shameless off-scale. In all this screaming mass, the atmosphere of the Russian hinterland evaporates instantly, yielding space to bright psychedelic visions, examples of which you can see on the postcards attached to the disc. Probably that was the intention, but it was worth leaving a little room for rural authenticity that gave birth to CHERNOPLOD after all. Otherwise, I don't understand why it was necessary to mention the attic and the hut. If the same ILDJARN was recorded in the basement on a portable recorder, then you can hear it. If Sergiy from MOLOCH (god save us) recorded his stuff on a winter night in a hut in the Carpathians, you can hear that. And here I don't hear anything like that, this material could have been recorded in a St. Petersburg apartment.
The physical edition of this compilation was issued in a very small print run of 97 hand-numbered copies. The format is digisleeve CD, there are no texts inside, because they are transferred to the psychedelic postcards included in the kit; seven pieces in total. Details on a video. To summarize, I cannot deny the talen of this band, their records are very good for demos, but for me it is perhaps too modern.