Year of release: 2008 / 2021 (this version)
Released by: Metal Race Records (this version)
Rating: 8,2 / 10
The extreme scene of the city of Pskov is one of the oldest in Russia. NECROSTENCH, SKLEP and FULLMOON RISE started their activities quite early, but even earlier there was a band ЧЁРНАЯ ВДОВА (BLACK WIDOW), on the ruins of which BLACK WOOD was born in 1997. BLACK WIDOW existed from 1989 to 1996, making five records. The collection "From the unholy nineties..." includes the last two, made up of the best old material, as well as actual at that time.
The first on the disc is the demo album "Battle Anthems" (1995), which was originally called "Aryan Battle Anthems". I think “Aryan” was added solely for the sake of extra coolness, because I didn't find any aryanism on this demo. This is ancient extreme metal with texts about death, Satan and the legions of darkness that go to brutally kill those who swore to the cross. So ancient, as if it was made not even in 95, but 10 years earlier. The harsh analog sound, clumsy vocals and guitar performance style make BLACK WIDOW eerily similar to the ŠMIERCIESLAŬ demo, only at a slower pace. In terms of style, this is the metal that people like to denote with the disgusting prefix “proto-” - dirty black thrash metal with a clearly noticeable influence of speed and heavy metal, and I mean speed and heavy metal from ex-socialist countries. There is even a traditional ballad that could land at any gramophone record with “heavy metal rock”, if not for the additional spitting vocal line. In general, there are a lot of melodic fragments on the album, and this is not at all British melodies, and not even something in the spirit of KAT, but the Soviet one. I say it in a good way - elderly gourmets love to wrinkle their noses at "sovok", jerking off to their original pressings of DEEP PURPLE, but in fact, soviet and early post-soviet underground metal had a unique charm, and BLACK WIDOW has more than enough of it. "Battle Anthems" is definitely worth turning to if you're looking for honest, unkempt, unkind and unbridled nostalgic metal.
The demo album "Satan's Ball" (an event, not a sports equipment) was recorded in 1996 at different studio, and it is composed mainly of more recent songs at that time. However, this did not entail serious changes. The music has become a little darker and slower, the melody - more disturbing, the dirty analog sound - heavier. Thus, the sound of BLACK WIDOW acquired a resemblance to GRAVEWÜRM, GOATLORD or even our ancient LUCIFER from Hrodna. Again, this is fucking good, especially because this style of metal has practically not been developed in our latitudes. Such an artifact is worth a lot.
Initially, this compilation was released on cassettes in 2008, and now it has been reissued on CD by Metal Race, with a limitation of 300 copies. Booklet design is the same as on the original cassette, but in color. It is made up of old photographs, handwritten texts and cool pencil sketches with all sorts of evil on them. Everything is as simple, old-fashioned and honest as in the music. Details on a video.