Sunday, 30 January 2011
[ALBUM REVIEW] Chelmno - Horizon of Events
1. Intro - The Lament from the Horizon of Events / Raging Eagles
2. Dance of the Shadows
3. Four Fucking Wolves
4. Astral Journey
5. Into the Fog
6. Seeking Inside the Memory
7. Silence Squadron
8. Old and Cold
Chelmno play some of the most raucous, dis-harmonic black metal you are likely to come across. Harsh and downright primitive, Horizon of Events is the second outing by these Italian chaos merchants. Veering closer to Clandestine Blaze territory with the sheer filth clad attitude to their take on black metal, Horizon of Events isn't going to be one for your casual fan of black metal. Stormlord this is not.
Take Darkthrone at their best and early Graveland and completely remove the bottom altogether. There is a bassist credited on the release, and call me a cloth eared false if wrong, but I struggle to hear anything remotely resembling that fabled four string instrument. I know production and lack of bass is common place in obscure black metal but when I mean the production on this release is bad, I mean it is absolutely fucking horrible, not quite transcending Ildjarn boundaries yet though. Luckily for Chelmno though, the music is downright brilliant.
I'll admit, the cover did throw me at first, I was hoping for something similar to Kataxu or even Darkspace, but I'll certainly take this though. Right from the opening drone of the intro right through to the fade out of “Old and Cold”, Horizon of Events is thirty seven minutes of almost punkish riffing which at times is disgustingly catchy (see “Four Fucking Wolves” circa 2:20) and others totally malign and immersed in feedback. Repetition is used tactfully and within reason throughout, remaining just long enough to envelope the listener in the austerity before transforming into another riff before ever becoming monotonous. The songs range from the higher tempo (early) Bathory-esque punk influenced numbers to longer mid paced numbers such as “Into the Fog” which is rather more gradual and foreboding. Asides from the fantastic guitar work here the other stand out element of Chelmno's sound is the drumming, performed by Vidharr of Tenebrae in Perpetuum fame, who effectively dictates the tempo of the music with the drumming acting as the backbone. It's simple yet at the same time alternates frequently throughout each song, avoiding many of the snares other drummers get caught up in. The vocals are typical to most underground black metal, they float about just behind the guitars and appropriate enough. Not amazing by any stretch but fit for their purpose.
When I first approached this record I was hoping for something 'atmospheric' you could say, and that's what I got, but not in the manner I anticipated. Syrupy keyboards and clichéd sampling foregone in favour of the more traditional form of creating an atmosphere of blood curdling malevolence solely with a guitar, a set of drums, a voice and that elusive bass as well; that takes a whack more talent than some idiot playing with his downloaded nature sounds CD. This album wont appeal to everyone, not least because of the drab attempt at production, but I suppose in a way it adds character to the release, but I still think a lot more muscle could have been put on the guitar tone and the bass turned up to an audible level, if it's there at all. As for the music itself though, it's an illustrious attempt a style of black metal which is becoming somewhat endangered of late. Definitely one for the fans of Clandestine Blaze, early Bathory and Graveland.
Sun & Moon