Thursday, September 26, 2013

Branikald - Жизнеотрицанью жизневероломство (1998)

Жизнеотрицанью жизневероломство was released in 1998, the same year as Хмель Мизантропии. The sound is much the same, and anyone familiar with Branikald's albums up to this point would not be surprised. This L.P. features the same stripped-down, raw Black Metal that could be heard on its predecessors. While not as good as a release such as Kveldulv, or as inspired as the Forest albums that were being recorded around the same time, it is not bad.

The production is one of the weak points of the album. It is not so terrible, really, but has the feeling that it is missing something. The guitar tone is not sharp enough. This was an issue on Хмель Мизантропии, as well. Again, this recording has the feeling of being a tenth-generation dub, with a cloudiness that somewhat neuters the songs. This only really affects the instruments, though, as the vocals are still rather prominent in the mix. This has been the case with several of Branikald's albums, as it appears that Kaldrad did not fully appreciate the more subtle approach as found on Рдяндалир, for example. For some reason, this album also has a couple tracks that sound like they were recorded during a different session, with completely different production. The vocals are much more harsh and the guitar tone is more harsh. If not for the loud drums, this would be much more ideal than the sound of the rest of the album.

The songwriting is solid. Of course, if you are even remotely familiar with Branikald's music, then you will know to expect a very minimalist approach. The songs are composed of cold, sombre tremolo melodies that flow over monotonous drumming, while Kaldrad's hateful vocals spew forth in the forefront. The songs are very much in the style of old Darkthrone, though lengthier and more hypnotic, possessing a quality somewhat reminiscent to the faster melodies found on older Burzum albums.  Despite averaging around nine or ten minutes long, these songs never get boring. There are not a lot of dynamics to speak of, outside of rare moments where things die down and dismal guitar chords ring out into the darkness, such as the ending to "Духа Уста Опаляя". As with the last couple releases, the vocals have somewhat too much reverb, not nearly as suitable as the style utilized on the earlier albums, or on the Forest material. The riffs work well to create a dismal feeling, with several introspective melodies that rise up, from time to time. Some passages go on slightly longer than necessary, before getting on to the next interesting idea. "Страстью Cтремимым" stands out, being mid-paced and possessing an entirely different production than the preceding tracks. The vibe is much more harsh and miserable.

Жизнеотрицанью жизневероломство is another solid dose of raw and minimalist Black Metal that is recommended for anyone into the early material from Darkthrone and Burzum. Branikald is one of the few bands to really do justice to this style, keeping to the traditions while adding something as well. Though the vocals are a little irritating, the music is worth giving the time to get used to this peculiarity.