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Review: Svyatogor - ...With Wolfish Stalk and by Wings of Black
...With Wolfish Stalk and by Wings of Black

Label: Blazing Productions
Year released: 2007
Duration: 32:32
Tracks: 6
Genre: Black/Death

Rating: 3/5

Review online: January 21, 2009
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
...With Wolfish Stalk and by Wings of Black

Rated 3/5 (60%) (5 Votes)

Svyatogor (named after a Russian/Ukrainian folk hero) hails from Kharkiv in the Ukraine. They play a straightforward style of Black/Death Metal full of furious riffs, insanely fast blast beats and some of the most sinister harsh vocals I've ever heard. They also break things up a bit with some slower, melodic breaks and lead guitarist Master Alafern adds some folk feel to the album with a violin. There is a battle theme running through ...With Wolfish Stalk and by Wings of Black (what a cool album title!), as each song is bracketed by sound effects ranging from a forge to riders on horseback to storms. Lead singer/growler Konstantin is good at what he does and, were it not for the lyrics being in Ukrainian (I assume, I'm not well versed in Slavic languages), I'm sure they would be semi-understandable. He also has a habit of rolling his Rs that adds an extra hint of evil to the sound.

Based on the cover art and the album title, I was expecting a lot more folk elements. While the band doesn't get carried away with keyboards, they don't really look to anything else in their arsenal to vary the listening experience. Most tracks feature the standard riffing/growling/blast beating formula, with the occasional slower break. It's actually in the slower breaks where these guys shine. The melody of the songs comes to the fore and you can hear their song writing skills. In fact, the best track, "Ravens and Wolves," is the slowest on the album. The tempo is reigned in to the point where you can hear and appreciate the guitar melody and Konstantin adds some spoken word-type growls to the vocals. I felt like I was viewing the devastation on a post-engagement field of battle.

I wanted to like this more than I did, but other than the aforementioned "Ravens and Wolves" and an atmospheric break in "For the Sake of Ukraine," the songs just fly by in a somewhat monotonous blur. Fans of Black/Death should find plenty to enjoy on ...With Wolfish Stalk and by Wings of Black, but it isn't likely to convert any non-believers to the cause.

Other related information on the site
Review: ...With Wolfish Stalk and by Wings of Black (reviewed by Tony Augsburg)
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