Huronian – Beyond Frozen Heights18th October 2023
Continuum Of Xul – Falling Into Damnation20th October 2023
Label: Godz Ov War / Release Date: 9th September 2022
W Czeluść, (which is Polish, roughly translated it means ‘Into The Depths’) is a Split album by two Polish Black Metal acts by the names Angrrsth (no known meaning that I could find) and Czort (in Slavik mythology a name for a demon of considerable evil), respectively. Each of the bands have gracefully donated two tracks to the Split, averaging roughly the same amount of playtime per ‘side’ (approximately twelve minutes apiece, with some margin for error).
As far as Angrrsth is concerned, they are a quartet that has, over the span of one EP, one Full-length and this Split, specialized in a very concise , energetic and overpowering style of Black Metal, clearly inspired by their musical roots, but likewise firmly planted in their own Slavik culture – Resulting in their half of the record to be very rough around the edges and aggressive, as well as heavily distorted with the growling vocals spouting (from what Google tells me; Forgive me, I have sadly never learned Polish) lyrics revolving around the evil of the world and man, hatred and anger. All in all a short (as is sadly to be expected from a Split release) but explosive experience, one that clearly marks Angrrsth as a no doubt very active and expressive live show despite their relative new addition to the worlds stage (the band itself seeing the light of day back in 2018). They have yet again rekindled my love of that particular branch of Black Metal that early Batuskha originally ignited, no doubt due to similar approaches, whether that be through shared culture, values or just similar hands-on creativity within the genre. Bear in mind the only reason I do not rank this part of the record higher is due to the fact that they sadly do not qualify due to our ranking system; They are a solid act with a powerful presence, consistent throughout the release, but are similar enough to previously established acts (such as before-mentioned Batuskha) that I sadly cannot claim that they have reinvented the genre, local additions or not – But then again, that is probably why it appeals to me, I am a stickler to the established order, and Angrrsth has delivered an undeniably good example of modern Black Metal.
On the ‘B’-side as it were (I am calling it that simply due to how, when played chronologically on a record player such as I did), we find their kinsmen and contemporaries, Czort – Another quartet, that have so far released two Full-length albums and two Splits (counting this one). They do, however, have two additional years below their belt and a somewhat more melodious approach to their music. Not enough that I would warrant pinning the moniker Melodic Black Metal onto their mantle; However, I will admit that I did at one point find myself drawing mental parallels to a French Symphonic Black Metal act I reviewed quite a few years ago, Malevolentia due to the similar, graceful flow through their music (more about that below). The music is more refined, less ‘rough around the edges’ as I described Angrrsth, the music is less distorted and the melodies carries themselves more along like a calming river than the sheer onslaught brought upon us listeners just two tracks earlier. An interesting dichotomy in small scale of what the Black Metal genre can produce and deliver, even from within the same musical region and culture (in this case Slavic or more specifically, Poland). The additional two years worth of experience is arguably some of the reason why Czort is capable of taking a traditionally very aggressive genre, polish down the edges, even throw in a few near-solos inbetween the blast beats of the drums and still effortlessly reach the same conclusions as the ‘A’-side which, once again, is delivered through growling lyrics of blasphemy, evil and darkness (as always, much obliged Google Translate – I really need to get back to learning a few more languages).
While Czort has most certainly produced the more uniquely recognizable sound of the two bands illustrated above (something I will always applaud from a entertainment and business point of view), in my mind they are lacking a bit in sheer, raw energy – Which is the sole reason why their rating is a bit below that of Angrrsth. A personal preference, but then again; A review of anything as singularly subjective and artistic as a musical endeavour will always be inherently biased, so take from this rambling what makes sense to you. I merely want to point out that I enjoy both bands and the difference in approaches they convey when played one after another like this record forces you to is interesting – To me at least. Hopefully we will see them around on different stages sometime later next year.
Below can be found a link to the Split in its entirety – I recommend any fans of modern Black Metal to give it a spin at their earliest convenience.