May 072014

Zgard is the one-man project of western Ukrainian musician Yaromisl; the name refers to an amulet in the culture of the Huzuls, an ethno-cultural group who for centuries have inhabited the Carpathian mountains, and Carpathian folklore has been a strong inspiration in the music of Zgard. The band’s fourth album has now been completed under the name Contemplation, and it’s scheduled for release by Svarga Music on June 23, 2014. Today we bring you the premiere of the album’s closing track, “Underworld Bells” [Дзвін потойбіччя].

Contemplation has been my first exposure to the music of Zgard, and “Underworld Bells” exemplifies much of what makes the album as a whole so captivating. Like almost all the tracks, it’s a long song, running almost 11 minutes, and yet I’m betting your interest won’t flag in the least as it pulls you into its epic atmosphere.


The song is by turns melancholy and warlike. Over the course of its passage Zgard weaves together passages of racing tremolo-picked guitar and acidic vocals; dramatic melodies accented by flutes, bells, and wordless choral voices; and a recurring, cleanly sung chorus that makes the heart swell.

For those with a taste for passionate pagan/black/folk metal, “Underworld Bells” will be a welcome discovery, as will Contemplation in its entirety.

The album will be released in a regular jewel-case CD version and a digipack version limited to 100 copies. The beautiful digipack cover looks like this:


For more info, follow the links below:

This is “Underworld Bells”:



  1. Very good stuff, powerful and well-produced for an (almost) one man band. They seem to have progressed a great deal from previous albums. Look at that familiar symbol in their old logo, though, and see that their first album was released from Darker than Black records… Just something to add up to the comment I made about Inquisition and the silliness of persecuting just one band that is “famous”, I mean, we shouldn’t be supposed to show different tolerance levels when talking about underground bands, right? Not about boycotting or anything as silly of course, but just not ignoring certain things, just because the music is awesome, such as in here.

    • As I said in the post, I’m a newcomer to Zgard, though I would not be shocked by what I think you’re suggesting, given what I know about black metal bands from this region (or black metal in general). But as you probably know from the discussion thread on the Inquisition piece, I don’t subject bands to historical investigation or ideological litmus tests before writing about them, If the music overtly promotes ideologies that I think are morally repugnant (including racism and fascism), I’m not going to write about them, but I don’t get that from this album at all. What I get, as you do, is music that sounds awesome.

  2. Holy Bathory Batman.

  3. wow, this is awesome! 🙂

  4. Nice surprise to see this! I really liked their last album. They’re nothing if not prolific; four albums and a split in about two and a half years.

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