Label: Hell’s Hammer Music
Sometimes, obscurity can really help a band stand out. In these hyper-connected days, when most musicians and bands are keen to fill social media with their every thought, it’s almost refreshing to find a band that has almost no online presence at all. Such is the case with Ukranian act Anthro Halaust, who have no webpages I can find save a Bandcamp page (which really is a near-necessity if you actually want your music to be heard). This would count for nothing though if the music on Правды Осколок, Кровоточит Живым.. (roughly translated as “Shard of Truth, Bleed Live..“) didn’t also have a certain sense of disengagement from the modern world. Put another way, this is black metal that doesn’t care about trends, or scene, or anything except its own strength and music. It’s fitting, then, that the music recalls an earlier time, and stands as an example of how you don’t have to go chasing trends to be relevant.
Opening track “Ненависть!!” (“Hatred”) makes this clear from the start. There’s a very 90’s Eastern European feel to it, with vicious guitars that don’t so much carry the melody as wield it as a weapon, and a restless energy that means the songs rarely settle on one riff or movement for long. Added to that are some strong keyboards that recalls the early work of both Graveland and Emperor. It all adds up to create a dark, unsettling atmosphere, as if you have stumbled upon something that was not meant to be seen or heard – a feeling only emphasized by the band’s lack of engagement with many of the things bands are supposedly “required” to do nowadays.
It’s not the case that the record relies solely on its malicious, obscure character to succeed, though. There are sections that recall that tragic grace and pride which the likes of Drudkh captured so well, and whilst the music never goes full-on “atmospheric black metal”, there are points where it transcends its own violence and darkness to become something greater, as it does during sections of “Кровоточит живым!!” (“Bleeds Alive!!”) – a track which also has moments of naturalistic darkness that have more in common with Negura Bunget than anyone else.
The highlight of the record comes with closer “Бездна (манящая в неизвестность)” (“The Chasm (Attracting In Uncertainty)”). At eight and a half minutes long, it’s a great example of how vicious black metal can build and sustain an atmosphere, having just the right level of repetition to create a trance-like atmosphere, but also enough variety to never feel as if it’s run out of ideas. It’s a great track, and an excellent way to close out the record.
Правды Осколок, Кровоточит Живым.. is a very strong find for the UKEM Records sub-label, and it’s good to see such obscure music being brought to a potentially larger audience. After all, no amount of social media noise will engage anyone who actually cares about the quality of music; but if the music is good enough, as is the case here, then all the rest is pretty much irrelevant.
Правды Осколок, Кровоточит Живым.. is set for release on 29th July 2016, and can be ordered at the UKEM Records webstore.