SHADOWS GROUND - Mysteria Mystica Calvus Mons (SCHATTENKULT Produktionen CD 2016)
I’ve never been a big fan of Ukrainian black metal. I do like Nokturnal Mortum a bit, also Mistigo Varggoth Darkestra and obviously Drudkh, but that’s all what’s good there and that I can think of. But here’s band from Donetsk, which I recently liked a lot. Sadly “Mysteria Mystica Calvus Mons” is the first release of them, which I had a chance to hear (and they have three more albums and some demos released before as well). The band is called Shadows Ground. Formed back in 1998, they must be among the longest running and most productive black metal acts from Ukraine. Which is not important for me, really, because it not always means that the music is good. But in this case, it is.
Originally released as tape in 2013, and now released on CD by Schattenkult Produktionen, “Mysteria Mystica Calvus Mons” is in my opinion just perfect offer for the maniacs of traditional sounding black metal. This album has everything that I like about this genre in its purest form and I’m really glad to hear album like that. Why? Well, it’s because these days most of black metal we get is infected with some trendy influences. Which is nothing wrong, as I like a lot of it, but… well, it just feels great to hear pure black metal record with no hype, no trends or other bullshit. Shadows Ground keeps it all obscure and traditional and probably don’t care if it will help them to gain recognition or not. I also don’t care if people know them or not, and as long as this band keeps on bringing such great music as “Mysteria Mystica Calvus Mons”, then it’s all fine with me!
So, we have traditional black metal here. It does have strong influence from classics like Darkthrone, Mayhem… as well as newer bands such as Armagedda (“Unholy Rituals”, first song off the album, reminds me Armagedda a lot), Pest or Craft. It’s got everything I like about this sort of black metal. There are great riffs, fantastic cold, grim and hateful aura, quite good production, which fits perfectly to this sort of music… and very good compositions and arrangements, which you just cannot call primitive or worthless shit. This music is simple, but not in bad meaning of this word. And the performance is very good; drums, guitars, bass, fantastic vocals of Waam (which combine harsh vocals with that eerie howling, which can remind you Attila’s voice like in “I Am Hatred”). The music is mostly fast, but it’s never monotonous. And it sounds equally awesome if it’s slow as when it is fast. I have to admit that I got infected with Shadows Ground music right from the very first time I played this CD and enjoyed it fully. It’s definitely among the best – if not the best – albums from that part of Europe that I’ve ever heard. It’s just very good and I recommend it with all my honesty.
Standout tracks: “Unholy Rituals”, “I Am Hatred”
Final rate: 80/100