Today’s bands are doing a lot more than simply challenging the boundaries of black metal, they’re tormenting and beating the living hell out of it. Psychedelics, dulcimers, tin whistles, ambiance, mouth harps, didgeridoo’s and even pedal steel have all found their way into this genre rooted in the most primordial of oozes. I like it, mind you, because progression often equates to interesting advancements, but oftentimes I just want my black metal to kill me mercilessly, like a lifer shiving a snitch in a prison cafeteria. That’s Russia’s Old Wainds in a nutshell: cold, savage and doing hard time with no hope for parole. Not literally, of course, but they have a lifer’s approach to their craft in that they remain as cruel today as they did over a decade ago.
But it’s not as if Death Nord Kult doesn’t show signs of progression since the Withers of the Wind days of 1996. This is actually one of the album’s I quickly recommend to folks just dipping their toes into the genre who want to familiarize themselves with the more raw face of black metal without sacrificing modern production techniques. Death Nord Kult sounds really clean, but it doesn’t surrender one iota of the necessary crudeness. There’s very little evidence here of murkily grim production qualities to stand in the way of bass, drums (very well played drums here, folks) and a seemingly ENDLESS amount of riffs to slash you to death.
And my Lord, these RIFFS!!! That’s what Old Wainds is really all about. Sure, it’s refreshing to actually hear some semblance of bass, and Izbor’s drummming really does shine, but the wealth of razor-sharp riffs from beginning to end are what truly make Death Nord Kult a no-brainer for those interested in pure face-melting black metal. A healthy share of the riffing here also shows clear evidence that the band is well-versed in thrash as well. Just as one can hear elder Kreator in the group’s other frosty project, Nav’, we hear proof of discordant thrash ala Rrroooaaarrr/Killing Technology on this record, especially throughout the first three cuts. And carving right alongside those hostile riffs is another element to further enhance the album’s goodness: the requisite rasped vocals hweerfed from a hellish blast furnace.
If you’re ready to shelve your hankerings for progressive black metal in favor of something targeted towards simple extermination, you’ll find no band more qualified than Old Wainds. One quick swallow of Death Nord Kult will be plenty enough to send you to an early grave, so have your affairs in order.