Noise Trail Immersion – Womb
Location: Turin, Italy
Label: Moment of Collapse Records
I’ve always thought black metal and mathcore would make an interesting combination, since both genres can be pretty chaotic and unsettling. There’s actually more sonic common ground between the two genres than you’d expect, especially if you listen to some of the darker tunes by Gaza alongside bands like Deathspell Omega. Still, there hasn’t been much in the way of crossover between the two genres. That’s what Turin, Italy’s Noise Trail Immersion hope to do with Womb, their latest release.
An atmospheric nightmare of a record, Womb is both haunting and unsettling, and indeed blurs the lines between the chaotic mathcore of bands like Coalesce and Gaza with extreme metal. There’s a palpable sense of rage present on much of the record, particularly on tracks like “Somnis” and “Placenta,” which are full of clashing notes, quick time signature-changes, and guttural yells. There are hints of melody amidst the chaos, however, which reminds me of Deathspell Omega, particularly their Chaining The Katechon EP. There are a number of instrumental soundscapes that add an extra layer of eeriness and atmosphere, the title track, “Womb,” being a great example. My particular favorite track is “Birth,” which is a moody, melodic piece that almost reminds me of a slightly heavier Earth.
Black metal fans might find Womb to be a bit heavy on the mathcore side of things, and light on the metal side of things. If you’re into the mathy, chaotic side of Deathspell Omega, however, Noise Trail Immersion might be a good fit for you. If Behold The Arctopus and Gaza joined forces to create a blackened noise project, this is exactly what it would sound like. Fierce, technical, and brutal, Womb is a solid record that defies true categorization, having elements of drone, noise, black metal, and even chaotic/metallic hardcore.
Paganland – From Carpathian Land
Location: Lviv, Ukraine
Label: Svarga Music
Boasting bands like Drudkh, Blood of Kingu, and Nokturnal Mortum, Ukraine has a history of producing some top-notch black metal acts that love incorporating traditional folk/pagan themes. Paganland, formed in 1997, are part of this proud tradition, and look to continue the legacy with From Carpathian Land, their latest studio release.
The opening instrumental track, “Stozhary,” is abreathtakingly beautiful symphonic piece, and really sets the tone for the rest of the record. Even when the heavy, blackened electric guitars and screamed vocals kick in on “At The Heart of The Carpathians,” there’s a heavy dose of melody, similar to the folk-infused metal of bands like Borknagar and Skyforger. Epic really is the best word to describe the feeling each tune has, and the use of folk-oriented melodies also shows Paganland’s reverence for tradition. The title track, for instance, sounds like the soundtrack to a nature scene, thanks to the use of ambient sound and extremely melodic synthesizers.
Paganland’s ability to walk the line between melodic and brutal is most evident on “The Gloom,” which has some fast heavy guitars that still maintain a sense of melancholy that I’ve really come to expect from the Ukrainian bands. While the opening track evokes a sense of serene beauty, “Chuhayster,” the closing track, creates a mysterious vibe, sounding almost like the soundtrack to a scene from some High Fantasy film, which is rich with traditional pagan imagery. If you enjoy the pagan/folk metal bands of the 90s, and haven’t yet heard Paganland, From Carpathian Land is a great place to start, and is a real gem from the Ukrainian pagan black metal scene.