Thursday, 28 December 2017

Shadows Ground - The Roots

SHADOWS GROUND - The Roots (SCHATTENKULT Produktionen CD 2017)
Last year I was given a chance to listen and review "Mysteria Mystica Calvus Mons", a very good album from Ukrainian band called Shadows Ground. I remember that before playing it, I was quite sceptical towards it, because most of bands from countries like Ukraine is just crap, sorry to say so. But as it turned out, I was wrong this time and was really blown away by some killer harsh black metal cult. This year, anno 2017, Shadows Ground putted out their newest full length "The Roots", yet again through Schattenkult Produktionen, and I'm once more truly fuckin impressed with their music. For me this is the best band from Ukraine, I am sincere about it! Yes, I remember about Drudkh and Blood of Kingu. They're great also, but for me personally it's the Shadow Ground, who caught my attention the most.  
And I've been playing "The Roots" insanely a lot through the past few days, drowning in its malicious, morbid aura fully. Stylistically this record is very simple to describe. Just take the most characteristic elements from the old Norwegian classics like DarkthroneBurzum, Mayhem, Kvist... and Urgehal, who I feel like is the closest to, when speaking of the general style and character of music. Why? Well, the production is quite alike, the riffage also, but even the vocals of Waam remind me Trondr Nefas' vicious shriek a little. Especially the song "Nocturne of a Morbid Mind" reminds me Urgehal. But I don't take it as something negative, because I worship the early Urgehal records and I feel like Shadows Ground on "The Roots" is almost equally good. So, let's enjoy this pure black metal. The best song for me is "Primordial Spirit". It has great Darkthrone-ish vibe, yet this track was able to bring something more exceptional and varied playing, so the result is just killer, in my opinion. Also the more melancholic and atmospheric aura of "Buried Under the Snow and Northern Lights" is a real stand out piece of "The Roots". 
Usually the problem with such harsh, simplistic black metal is that it's very easy to destroy it and cross the line of parody. So often bands from this style sound boring, unimpressive, too primitive and just forgettable. Too often this music becomes a primitive, naive and just completely moronic. But not in case of Shadows Ground and "The Roots". Just as "Mysteria Mystica Calvus Mons", this album also shows some solid songwriting, great riffs, which perfectly combine the most aggressive and malicious parts with good dose of melodic, sometimes slightly melancholic, atmospheric parts. More so, Shadows Ground has no problem whatsoever with creating the very special cold, grim aura, which should embrace that kind of black metal, with hateful, satanic feeling. Finally, I have to say that I like the production a lot... and even though quite a lot of this album has been played in this repetitive, simplistic, slightly one-dimensional, fast paced vicious black metal style, it doesn't bore me at all and I enjoyed "The Roots" a lot. Yeah, this is a very proper title for this album - if it was meant to take you back to the roots of second wave of black metal, when the music was pure, harsh and not infected by alien influences. Recommended release, yeah! 
Standout tracks: "Primordial Spirit", "Under Transilvanian Fullmoon", "Buried Under the Snow and Northern Lights" 
Verdict: 75/100 

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