Three weeks ago we premiered a song named “The Architect’s Temple” from a forthcoming album by the Ukrainian death metal band Hell:On. That album, Scythian Stamm, is Hell:On‘s sixth full-length in a career that began in 2005, and it’s set for release on November 1st. Today we have the pleasure of premiering another song from the album, which is presented through a video that includes the lyrics.
Those lyrics are taken from an English-language translation of a poem named “Заповіт” (Zapovit), which translates to “Testament”. The poem was first published in 1845 and written by Taras Shevchenko, a Ukrainian poet, writer, artist, and political figure, as well as folklorist and ethnographer. According to this article, “His literary heritage is regarded to be the foundation of modern Ukrainian literature and, to a large extent, the modern Ukrainian language.” The article also reports that he was convicted in 1847 for promoting the independence of Ukraine from Russia and for ridiculing members of the Russian Imperial House. The translation of “Заповіт” used in the video was made by John Weir.
Hell:On‘s musical interpretation of the poem in their song “My Testament” is tremendously powerful and moving, and it changes form as it goes, summoning sensations of resistance, violence, and astonishing majesty. Along the way, it may bring to mind memories of Poland’s Behemoth, as “The Architect’s Temple” did, but there are other dimensions to the music that go in different directions too.
Somber and mystical in its opening moods and tones, the song becomes a savage onslaught of jolting rhythms and frenzied, cutting chords. The assaulting nature of the sound is matched by the intensity of the roaring vocals, both of them combining to create an atmosphere of fierce defiance.
The centerpiece of the song is an extended guitar solo that leads the music into a transformation. There is an ethnic folk flavor to the melody of the solo, and as it continues it becomes increasingly fast and fiery, and the music behind it swells in grandeur (though it still jolts the spine). Eventually, the solo leads into a channel-shifting spasm of screaming intensity. As the rhythms hammer and crack, the riffing becomes jittery and violent again, as the vocalist bellows “I know nothing of god!” But there is still an aura of sweeping magnificence in the music, and it rises in near-celestial splendor as a sun rises (or sets) in the video and Ukrainian verses from the poem are spoken by Bohdan Stupka (from a 1989 recording).
“My Testament” is being digitally released today as a single (“The Architect’s Temple” is also still available as a single). And the album Scythian Stamm can be pre-ordered as well. The spectacular cover art for the album was created by the Ukrainian artist known as Seeming Watcher. Get more details through the links below.
STREAM / BUY “MY TESTAMENT”: