From parts unknown and with identities concealed, a new black metal band named Koldovstvo have quickly begun to make a striking first impression. Earlier this year the opening track of their debut album emerged, and at least in the crevices of the underground that I frequent it created a buzz of appreciation and set tongues wagging with curiosity. With the track we’re premiering today (“IV“), it’s a safe bet that the hype around the album will spread.
The name of that album is Ni Tsarya, Ni Boga (Ни царя, ни бога) — Slavic words that mean “neither tsar nor god” (and could be interpreted in English as “no gods, no masters”). The band’s name itself seems to be Russian for “witchcraft” or “sorcery”. These may be clues, or misdirections, concerning the band’s origins, or simply a distinctive way of expressing the group’s inspirations and intentions.
A possible further expression could be found in the choice of the painting excerpted on the album’s cover — a depiction of an elegant (and voluptuous) woman standing half-crouched on her bed, her back against the wall, her bedroom filling with water, and rats scurrying onto the sinking ship of her mattress. Even though we can’t see the emotions in her face, what we can see is a frightening vision of beauty and peril and fear.
As it happens, those sensations come through in Koldovstvo‘s music too, but what the painting might be missing but is ever-present in the music is the sensation of having been transported into a supernatural realm, a place (as the band’s name signifies) of mystery and magic, where the sorceries become entrancing but don’t completely veil the present dangers.
The song we’re premiering today, “IV“, creates an intriguing mystical atmosphere immediately, through the inviting reverberation of gleaming chords, coupled with distant voices. The warm hum of a bass emerges, along with the steady beat of the drums. Melodious shining tones wondrously rise, along with a chorus of echoing singing voices that wail and cry, soar and subside. The combined effect is mysterious and romantic, haunting and enthralling.
The rhythm occasionally becomes more vibrant, and the melody subtly and gradually changes too, becoming more searing and more infiltrated by angst, until it simply boils in a froth of desperation. The bass throbs, the voices become more shattering, the mood more devastated, yet the ringing melodies are no less unearthly in their glimmering and glittering sheen — beauty in the midst of menace and misery.
If you haven’t yet heard the album’s opening track, “I“, we’re including a stream of that as well. It reveals a further dimension to Koldovstvo‘s approach, though still deploying the signal ingredients of the track we’re premiering. The gleaming guitar tones are still present, but “I” goes on the attack, in a surge of hammering drums, rapidly thrusting bass, and shattering screams. The music swirls and flickers around those hurtling rhythms, radiating both turmoil and a kind of otherworldly glory. And thus the song is both visceral in its drive and mesmerizing in its immersive impact — the stuff of splendid dreams — while the vocals remain frightening in the intensity of their heart-bursting, larynx-threatening shrieks and cries.
The song is somehow like a pillar of preternatural fire that as it whirls and shines carries the listener upward, spinning and enraptured. Despite the wretched pain in the vocals and the feverishness of the sound, it unexpectedly seems ebullient.
Ni Tsarya, Ni Boga truly is mood-altering sonic witchcraft. It will be released on March 5th in various formats by a triumvirate of labels: Babylon Doom Cult Records (LP/CD, EU/ROW), Extraconscious Records (LP, US), and Fólkvangr Records (CS). All of this is available for pre-order now. The album comes recommended for fans of Circle of Ouroborus, Bak de Syv Fjell, and Ulver.
LP USA: https://music.extraconscious.com/album/ni-tsarya-ni-boga
LP/CD Europe / ROW: http://bit.ly/koldovstvo