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Review: Moloth/Nezhegol - Wotanjugend

Label: Frenteuropa Records
Year released: 2011
Duration: 42:55
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: January 28, 2012
Reviewed by: Memnarch
Readers Rating

Rated 3.4/5 (68%) (5 Votes)

A lot of Eastern European NSBM to me for the most part tends to be nothing but a melee of uncoordinated Darkthrone and Burzum worship. On top of that you have the most extreme bands so transfixed on getting their own personal manifesto across they appear to completely leave all musical ability behind, or as unfortunately often appears to be the case, they never had the talent in the first place. This obviously isn't true all the time, take the bands from the Blazebirth Hall scene in Russia for example, or acts such as Dark Fury and the Polish Arkona, bands who have the talent as well as a certain semblance of cohesion lacking in so many others. Moloth are one of these bands, they've been terrorizing the underground Black Metal scene in Russia for the last ten years or so and have two albums of tenacious and unsympathetic Black Metal bearing a flame of nothing but sheer hatred.

Wotanjugend is a split effort between the aforementioned and compatriots Nezhegol', who upon closer inspection appear to share a few members. It's clear from the outset, this isn't Black Metal for the casual or left-leaning, the balaclava clad fellow on the cover certainly isn't off to protest about socialism and the cuts anyway that's for sure. Moloth kick things off with a steel toe cap right into the militaristic opener with its machine-gun drumming and gritty riffing, which while thick and harsh manages to contain an astute sense of melody underneath as well. The vocals have that unmistakable Slavic accent to them and are rather well produced and complement the ‘no prisoners, obliterate all!' attitude which Moloth are aiming to convey throughout. The next three tracks all follow the same formula and structure somewhat with some exceptionally crushing riffing at times. Though lacking a certain sheen and identity from the first, they still remain highly enjoyable; diversity is something you seldom find in NSBM anyway.

Nezhegol' I've not heard before. They fall on the more pagan side of things, and refrain from being quite as assertive in their presence as Moloth, opting for the more atmospheric approach with their melodic guitar lines and cascading keyboard passages bringing a more ‘traditional European' feel to proceedings. The clean vocals are unfortunately rather weak and don't really fit with the style of music, they style of music to which they pertain is much more suited to harsh vocals. It reminiscent at times to Pagan Reign or a poor man's Temnozor, which is no bad thing as both those bands are essentially benchmarks for the genre, but with a change in vocals they could really be on to something. Take the last song for example, it is just screaming out for a Varrgoth-styled vocal performance in place of Aleksander's vocals. The riffing and drumming is flat out brutal and the keyboard arrangements are nothing short of exquisite, the vocals just prevent it from ever taking that extra leap into the territory occupied by Nokturnal Mortum or Temnozor. The last track is a collaboration between both bands (who are both essentially the same artists anyway?) and has a surprisingly Maiden-esque feel throughout with its riffing and is a glimpse of what could be were Nezhegol' to take into consideration my previous points. The harsh vocals from the Moloth frontman work exceptionally well with this style of music.

As it stands though Nezeghol' are nothing more than another slightly above average drop of water in the ocean of pagan metal acts which exist throughout Eastern Europe. Moloth on the other hand have proved themselves many times before, raw and abrasive NSBM which is much more bite than bark. First-class musicianship with the attitude of Absurd, the Black Metal equivalent to a fist to the teeth. For those who like their Black Metal ugly and unforgiving, check them out, their debut especially is fantastic. The lyrical themes and band's notoriety will turn many off, but since when was Black Metal ever about tolerance anyway?

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