This review caused me a little moral torment, which, I think, is understandable for the local informed listeners. We know where Radzim works; more precisely, it was "where" before, but now it's more correct to say "on whose side". Half of my family wore shoulder straps, so I understand everything about the early retirement, professional deformation, and that it is very difficult to get out of some systems even if your really want it. But the overall feeling still sucks.
However, I have always strived to separate creativity from the personal life of the creator, as long as they do not conflict. Years of mutual support also mean something, as well as the simple fact that ŠMIERCIESLAŬ's music is a milestone in the history of Belarusian metal. And his new album is an event. An event that happened completely unexpectedly. Relatively recently, I learned that a fire broke out in the house where Radzim's rehearsal studio was located, so his gear and other metal-related things got burnt. Therefore, I assumed that there would be no new ŠMIERCIESLAŬ or OYHRA for us. I was wrong. Moreover, the next ŠMIERCIESLAŬ album is already in writing!
Suddenly learning about the release of "Black Metal Tornado", for a long time we tried to guess who released it. The correct answer was obvious - an old Colombian acquaintance who had previously released ŠMIERCIESLAŬ / APHOOM ZHAH split. Musica Hibrida from Ecuador helped him with that. For some reason, these guys made the release on the sly, although they usually like to litter all Internet with their caps-typed announcements. At the moment, you will not find a second of new ŠMIERCIESLAŬ music on the Web, except for a short fragment of poor quality video, where the owner of Musica Hibrida demonstrates the insides of the disc. But it makes everything even more interesting.
"Black Metal Tornado", if I am not mistaken, is the a first release where Radzim himself performed absolutely everything. Since Darkut stopped playing metal and took up the practice of healing via Skype, Radzim decided not to invite another drummer, who played on two current OYHRA albums, to his truly personal project, but began to learn how to play drums himself. All the problems and characteristic traits of "Black Metal Tornado" are in one way or another related to the drums. The album is somewhat reminiscent of the early recordings of JUDAS ISCARIOT, since you can immediately hear that drums are not the main instrument for Radim. By and large, throughout the entire album, he plays the same rhythm with slight variations in speed, and in any case he does that quite leisurely when compared to guitars. As I understand it, Radzim decided not to violate the sacred principle of the underground and played the parts live from start to finish, without edits. Therefore, the drums also sound quite sloppy in places, and in moments with staccato transitions between squares (I don’t know how this is called correctly), it seems that they are replaced by drum machine sample. Either Radzim has not yet been able to make such transitions without getting lost, or I don't know. The shortcomings of drum parts are largely compensated for by the power of each hit. Radzim beats the shit out fo these poor skins; I don't know how the hell they withstand it. Despite everything, it cannot be said that the drums on the album turned out to be a failure. If you want, you can find fault with them, they really pull the album back, not allowing it to reach the ultra-speeds of “Cjomny pryliŭ razburennja”. On the other hand, they give the album an unshakable integrity. Thanks to the same rhythm, each of the six tracks remains part of a huge block of black metal.
While the drums are tapping their rhythm, the guitar parts are habitually playing catch-up and wriggling around each other. Not a second of flickering in place - they move forward all the time. The speed of the guitars on "Black Metal Tornado" is approaching to DEATHHAMMER, and the density leaves the Norwegians far behind. In the sound space, two or three lines are consistently present, but they seem to be six or seven due to the characteristic sharp-heavy sound. The bass is located a little in the shade, but its overkill creates a decisive volume. It comes to the fore in those rare fragments where the guitars take a break, as well as in the composition “Quarter of century in Metal". In terms of style and mood, the riffs are a mixture of both approaches from the previous double release. From “Cjomny pryliŭ razburennja” they conveyed length, malicious assertiveness. From “Ciemrazoŭ” - inner fire. The result is once again both traditional and unique. Perhaps, ŠMIERCIESLAŬ grew from the same iron seeds that bore fruit in the form of all ancient German satanic evil, but these seeds were carried by the wind to the soil of Krywia and hatched under the light of Krywian full moon. The old black spirit continues to wander through Homiel wastelands, familiarly buzzing on the final segment of "Treasures of Dark Silence and Emptiness".
The vocals haven't changed at all since the previous release - the dog-in-the-booth style is still in use - only it has become less legible due to the peculiarities of the sound. "Black Metal Tornado" sounds hollow, rough, very resilient and tight. You need to turn it on LOUD, believe me. Otherwise, you'll miss a third of what is happening. The vocals are produced out in a particularly archaic way, as if it comes from the past millennium. The lyrics are devoted to the same old themes, but this time, somehow, especially many lines are devoted to loneliness and evil despair. Unfortunately, in the booklet they are printed only in imperfect English, so you have to compare with difficulty what you hear with what you read in order to recreate the complete picture. The design of the booklet combines interesting solutions with unsuccessful ones: the color scheme exactly matches the music, but at the same time, some texts are almost impossible to make out against the background of photographs of that very burnt house (the choice of such photographs is also an interesting, meaningful decision). In addition, if all English-language texts are typed in classic Old English, then Belarusian-language texts are typed in the first available font, i.e. Arial, and it's a fucking big contrast, I tell you. Details on a video.
Summing up, I will say that I still liked the previous release more (mainly because of the higher dynamics and speeds), but “Black Metal Tornado” is practically not inferior to it. The release of this album made the ending of shitty year 2021 much better.