Some of my favorite black metal releases over the years have come from the Ukraine (Blood of Kingu and Drudkh definitely come to mind here). Many Ukrainian bands have experimented with different sounds, mixing them into black metal, and creating something new and unique. KZOHH, a band consisting of members of Khors, Elderblood, Ulvegr, and Reusmarkt, carry on this tradition with their latest release, Trilogy: Burn Out the Remains.
Lyrically, KZOHH are focusing on pandemics, particularly the “Justinian Plague” and the “Spanish Influenza,” diseases that killed millions of people (par for the course in terms of black metal lyrical fodder.) There are some narrated passages in the quieter moments, similar to what you would expect on a Bal-Sagoth release, and which help to heighten the dramatic tone. When the full band kicks in, the vocals take on a deep, bellowing tone, not quite growled, but not exactly clean singing either, though there are some (almost) tuneful pitch changes on the opening track, “Panoukla DXLII.” The music doesn’t go into the typical blazingly-fast tempo usually heard on black metal releases, choosing mainly to stick to a plodding, doomy tone that borders on industrial metal, thanks to the synths, heavy use of sound clips, and guitar overdubs. The mixing and mastering is excellent, creating a nice thick atmosphere, and heightening the drama created by the lyrics.
Though there are a couple of fast moments in “Crom Conaill,” complete with higher-pitched shrieking, Trilogy: Burn Out the Remains is a black metal album more in concept than it is in tone. Because of this, if you’re looking for tremolo picking, blastbeats, and, of course, Satan, this release will probably leave you a little empty-handed. Also, this is a record that requires some attention, since even though it only contains three tracks, the shortest one clocks in at 11 and a half minutes.
If you’re looking for some moody and atmospheric heavy music, KZOHH are a great band to check out.