|Label:||I, Voidhanger Records|
|Translation:||Crypt Of Fear|
Here we meet Markov Soroka's work: after revitalizing his funeral doom side with his band Slow and having published a couple of works last year with his (presumably) main project Aureole, Markov stirred things up once again with Tchornobog.
First things first, "Tchornobog" is a pretentious album. Starting from the way in which it is presented, with that colorful packaging and an illustration (beautiful, by Adam Burke, in art Nightjar Illustrations) that continues inside the digipak, it gives the impression of being a record that wants to show off. Continuing to tinker with the item, the second peculiarity immediately strikes the eye: each pocket of the card contains a different booklet, one for the lyrics («The lyrics journal») and one for the author's considerations («The dream journal»). Inside, the thoughts of Soroka flow freely, saying that he had been working on the creation of "Tchornobog" since 2009 and that he had completed the recording and production in 2015.
Before this, and here's where Soroka ends up being pretentious, four pages filled with stuff from which we understand that Tchornobog is an ancient Slavic deity and little else. As for the rest, the four pages are a set of thoughts such as «Each maw and muscle larger than those before it, yet simultaneously insurmountable by future installations of such a design» or «Tchornobog's chemical interactions and biological creations that take place in infinite nerves due to superimposing will is currently incomprehensible». I don't know if Soroka has any issues with English, but the things that are incomprehensible here are quite different. From what little I could understand – and take it with a grain of salt, because to say that I understand is really an exaggeration – this new project would be the transposition into music of a dreamy journey undertaken by the Ukrainian musician, a journey through which he's apparently got in touch with Tchornobog himself.
Result: four songs for over an hour of music and a concentration of malaise and complexity worthy of the likes of Mitochondrion and Portal, but with an enviable background consistency. Because in the end it does not matter that Soroka might have 'moped balls a little with all those mystical and flashy stuff: "Tchornobog" is a huge record. Of course, you must like chaos, the sound that recalls the old school fashion a lot in the last ten years and, precisely, those ambitions of spiritual catharsis that you could do without big regrets, but the hour of music put together by this guy is a bomb.
There's Incantation school death metal, there is the early '00 Deathspell Omega black metal style, there are the inhuman screams reminding me of Antediluvian, there are at times visionary dissonances coming from never fully understood projects as Skáphe, there is even an entire passage at the edge of the dark ambient with a saxophone in the foreground in "III" that seems to refer to the famous Lithuanian '90s avantgardes; for the sax use, certainly not for the dark ambient, but we understood each other. And there is also, it is useless to hide it, a very strong lovecraftian influence to act as glue because, even if there are no tentacles and abysses on the cover, it is clear that the ancient entity Tchornobog is grafted by Soroka on a structure made of hallucinations, dreams and evil powers that call out the work of the Providence teacher.
Incredible to say: everything works, despite the amount of ideas and ideas put together by Soroka is summarized in four really long tracks. The truth is that the chapters of "Tchornobog" flow with an unexpected simplicity; no change of atmosphere and time is ever manneristic or artifact, but all the different souls of the project alternate in a very natural way.
I doubt Soroka really dreamed of Tchornobog or somehow came into contact with the deity on the astral plane as some kind of Doctor Strange, and yet a similar potpourri, where flowers and essential oils are screams, huge riffs, blast beat and spleen, must have originated from somewhere. And I'm not sure that this origin is entirely human. For all death-black metal fans and for all those who like the names and influences mentioned earlier, "Tchornobog" is a record to be consumed.