I suspect that when the words “experimental” or “avant garde” are mentioned in connection with metal, most people’s reactions fall into one of two categories: Some stifle a gag reflex and feel the impulse to run for the hills, and others experience a quickening of the pulse at the prospect of finding something new and different in a musical landscape saturated with sameness. I’m in the latter group — but at the same time I’ve learned the hard way that those “experimental” and “avant garde” labels can cover a multitude of musical sins, encompassing a lot of dreck as well as some true gems.
In the case of Doctor Veritas, the recently released third album from Ukraine’s Svyatogor, we have gems. You may remember that in early April, I included a recently released song from the album (“Work Hard. Eat. Watch.”) in an NCS post (here), though conceivably it may have escaped attention since it was preceded in the post by videos of . . . flying penguins and a deluge of guns.
I’m not taking any chances this time. This time, Svyatogor get a post all to themselves as we assist in the international premiering of a second track from the album — the title song, “Doctor Veritas”. Thanks to the band’s label, Svarga Music, a CD-quality file of the song is also available for free download.
From the first moments of “Doctor Veritas”, you know you’ve let yourself in for something different. It seamlessly joins together threads of dark melody, massive hammering riffs, and flights of jazzy bass notes and spiraling clean guitar. Scything black metal meets pummeling death metal, and officiating over the blessed union is a wolf with a saxophone and a ghost who whispers occult secrets in your disoriented ears.
If you have enjoyed the music of bands such as Blut Aus Nord, Shining (Norway), Sear Bliss, or Deathspell Omega, “Doctor Veritas” is a song I think you’ll enjoy and Svyatogor is a band whose music you’ll want to explore further. I don’t mean to suggest that they sound exactly like any of those other bands — they are definitely following their own path — but they share a similar talent for bending genre rules and creating an unusual fusion of styles that works. Here is “Doctor Veritas”:
Doctor Veritas was released on May 7 by underground Ukrainian label Svarga Music and can be ordered in North America via The Omega Order (here) and in the UK and Europe from Plastic Head (here) and Code7 (here) or from Svarga via this link. The album’s track list, encompassing 52 minutes of music, is as follows:
1. Памяти мёртвых Героев [In Memory Of Fallen Heroes]
2. Word hard. Eat. Watch.
3. Манифест [The Manifesto]
4. Doctor Veritas
5. Нi вогню, нi меча… [Nor Fire, Nor Sword...]
6. AWOKE / INCOMING (Antarctic solitude)
7. Плюнуть и забыть [Spit And Forget]
8. Неизбежность [Inevitability]
9. La concupiscence [Lust]
10. Реинкарнация дум [Reincarnation Of Thoughts]
Here’s a teaser for the album: