I must admit that I really like the strategy, which Arachnophobia Records has taken right from the beginning of its activity. This label release only Polish bands and basically each band, each release sounds different to the previous and more so, majority of them has quite unique sound in general. Sure, I didn’t enjoy all releases, but most of them I did… but even if it happened that I didn’t like something (Sigihl), then I am happy to say that Arachnophobia has a great talent for promoting the bands, which have their own personality and quality. That tendency is continued with the release number 13, which is Kurhan and their debut album “Głód” (which means “hunger” in Polish). I did not know their previous releases, so I had no expectations whatsoever, but I must say that I am quite pleased with this album. It isn’t perfect, but surely a solid effort! And again, it’s different to all previous Arachnophobia releases, there’s something unique about Kurhan music but at the same time some elements are similar to some other Arachnophobia bands, mainly the Polish lyrics, which give this quite specific feeling to the music.
From strict musical point of view, this is quite difficult to describe. Surely Kurhan has a strong black metal feeling and the intensity, pace (mostly fast) and aggression are all quite characteristic for this style, but I think there are also some traces of death and even thrash metal as well. I like how violent and intense this music is, filled with many killer riffs and total relentless, straight forward attitude. This is surely the best characteristic of “Głód”; its sheer aggression, also quite complex song structures, but with rather simple riffing and richness of ideas (all played by the classic instrumentation, with no keyboards, acoustics or things like that!), dynamics and still some trace of the old school. I guess one can compare them to such bands as Voidhanger, I feel also a similar attitude and aura to what we could find on Genius Ultor’s “Nic co boskie nie jest mi obce”… Production wise, this album is not so much obscure or dirt, but the sound is perfectly balanced between the harshness and powerful energy and is rather on the cleaner side, making every instrument well audible. It actually is quite specific for Czyściec Studio, smelling with sulphur and coal. But I like how the guitars sound and especially drums – which by the way were very well played by Namtar, also known from Furia and Massemord.
And now, about the negatives, I don’t really know what to think about the vocals. They’re just… weird. Yes, weird. Surely I can’t think of any other extreme metal record, which would have used voice like this. But the problem is that I think the vocals not necessarily fit such an intense and aggressive music and I guess I would just prefer to hear harsher and more powerful, more traditional shrieking vokills. It does take many spins to get used to Mazur’s voice, but even after four days of listening to “Głód” I still can’t say that I am fully used to and convinced by them. Damn, it just looks like Arachnophobia likes to make my life difficult every time they release something new haha! Anyway, those vocals are a reason why I can’t fully enjoy this album. Still a solid effort though, but missing something what would put it into the highest level.
Standout tracks: “Swiatłość wiekuista”, “Ołtarze”, “Katedra”, “Czas”
Final rate: 65/100