Album Review – Ciemra / The Tread of Darkness (2023)

Behold the magnificent debut opus by this Belarusian Black Metal horde, based on the denial of the usual foundations of the world, on the darkest manifestations of human activity, and on energies hidden beyond the Dark Abyss.

Forged in the scorching fires of Minsk, Belarus in 2019, when five essences emerged from the abyss to the veils of night on the eve of the end times in order to reap the living, to satisfy the hunger of darkness and to nourish the wombs of the dark gods, the venomous Melodic Black Metal horde Ciemra (or Цемра, which means “darkness” in Belarusian) delivers fast-paced, cold and pure Black Metal which is looking at both the classic European sound and its more contemporary interpretations, which is exactly what you’ll find in their newborn opus titled The Tread of Darkness. Recorded at Alma Studio, mixed and mastered by Yaroslav Tseluyko at Jaro Sound, and displaying a demonic artwork by Nestor Povarnin, The Tread Of Darkness is based on the denial of the usual foundations of the world, on the darkest manifestations of human activity, and on energies hidden beyond the Dark Abyss, masterfully brought into being by the witch Malvain on vocals, Misery and Zima on the guitars, Kurz on bass, and Sønn on drums.

The acoustic guitars by Misery and Zima will mesmerize your soul accompanied by the slow and steady beast by Sønn in Ciemra, before the Belarusian sorceress Malvain begins gnarling in a dark and beautiful manner, with the music growing in intensity until becoming a sulfurous and grandiose feast of undisputed Black Metal. After such impactful start, the band continues to distill their blend of Melodic Black Metal with old school, raw Black Metal in Four Riders, with the band’s guitar duo cutting our skin deep with their evil riffage, followed by Vomiting Void, very melodious and bestial from the very first second while showcasing devilish lyrics growled by Malvain (“Burning the world / Building the temple / In the end of the night / There’s a Vomiting Void / So far material awake the gun”). And investing in a more cadenced, obscure sonority led by the classic drums by Sønn supported by the low-tuned bass by Kurz, Call of the Ancestors is an evil composition perfect for summoning evil spirits.

Then continuing to pave their path to pitch black darkness it’s time for War, again presenting the trademark roars by Malvain while Misery and Zima add elements from Death and Doom Metal to their riffs; and their piercing, strident guitars keep darkening the skies in A Night for the Death, where their Blackened Doom vein arises like a creature from the netherworld, with Kurz and Sønn once again hammering our heads with their demonic kitchen in a lecture in extreme music. The eerie vociferations by Malvain are the main ingredient in the Black Metal extravaganza Winter, where the caustic sound of their guitars will blacken your mind for all eternity, whereas in Serpent’s we face more of their infernal words (“The shaking Serpent / In the Abyss / The Raw materials / I’m on my knees…”) while the music is just as Stygian and heavy as the rest of the album, exploding into a gargantuan onrush of pure Black Metal at the end. Lastly, closing such somber album we have Where the Eyes Close, offering more of the band’s darkly melodic and grim Black Metal for our total delight, with its ethereal passages creating a stunning paradox with the band’s more visceral and violent side.

The bestial debut album by such promising Belarusian horde can be appreciated in full on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course if you consider yourself a true servant of darkness you can purchase your favorite version of the album from their own BandCamp page, from the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp page, from Sound Cave as a digipak CD, a black vinyl or a color vinyl, from Season of Mist also as a digipak CD or a color vinyl, from Record Shop X, or from Apple Music. Furthermore, don’t forget to start following Ciemra on Facebook, on Instagram and on VKontakte for news, tour dates and so on, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their wicked music and videos. Nature, in its primordial beauty and originality, also finds a place in The Tread Of Darkness, as there is where Ciemra find themselves at peace, but the exact opposite of that peace is what the quintet will offer you throughout the entire album, relentlessly dragging you toward endless darkness.

Best moments of the album: Ciemra, Vomiting Void, A Night for the Death and Where the Eyes Close.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. Ciemra 7:09
2. Four Riders 4:41
3. Vomiting Void 3:52
4. Call of the Ancestors 4:59
5. War 5:49
6. A Night for the Death 5:43
7. Winter 4:48
8. Serpent’s 4:28
9. Where the Eyes Close 5:00

Band members
Malvain – vocals
Misery – guitar
Zima – guitar
Kurz – bass
Sønn – drums

Album Review – Mørknatt / Witchcraft of Domination EP (2016)

If Norwegian Black Metal is what you truly desire, why not going to Spain instead of Norway and try the blasphemous music by this promising horde of darkness?


coverWhenever you search for Black Metal, where do you usually go to as the most reliable source of that type of extreme music? I guess your answer is Norway, correct? What if I said you can also find high-end old school Norwegian Black Metal in a place not-so-far from Norway, but with a complete different culture and climate? I’m talking about Spain, more specifically the city of Tarragona, a port city located in the Catalonia region on the Mediterranean Sea, about one hour only from Barcelona. There you’ll find the up-and-coming Satanic/Pagan Black Metal heretics Mørknatt, who have just released their debut EP entitled Witchcraft of Domination.

Formed in 2014, this newborn band is obviously highly inspired by the biggest icons of Norwegian Black Metal such as Emperor, Immortal and Darkthrone, having even their name taken from the unique language spoken in the Kingdom of Norway (Mørknatt means “Dark Night” in Norwegian). Led by guitarist Kongen av Slanger (“King of Snakes” from Norwegian) and featuring a beyond controversial artwork by Spanish illustrator Ricardo Caballero, Witchcraft of Domination offers the listener four blasphemous and vile chants as an advancement of the band’s first album to be called Victorious Satan. And based on the content of this short and sweet EP, all hell will break loose when this Spanish horde finally unleashes their first full-length album upon humanity.

The first of the four ungodly tracks of the EP, named Calanda of Antichrist, brings forward classic Black Metal the likes of Gorgoroth and Immortal, with Fenrir summoning darkness through his satanic screams while Kongen av Slanger uses his guitar as a weapon of mass destruction. Moreover, the atmosphere is dense and vile, as expected from a Black Metal act as talented and focused as Mørknatt. Following that infernal start we have Satanic Sex, with one of those sexual/profane intros you should avoid listening to with your grandmother (unless she’s as diabolical as you are) or in front of innocent children. Anyway, the song’s blasphemous lyrics, together with its bestial riffs, are a tribute to true Black Metal and everything a diehard fan of the genre wants to hear in extreme music. And although drummer Kunstdood doesn’t smash his drums like in the previous track, he’s still very technical and heavy, effectively enhancing the song’s pungency.

mørknattThe next track, Serpents, presents a solid feast of extreme music with all traditional elements we enjoy like deep growls, lunatic screeches, hypnotizing riffs and relentless blast beats. In addition to that, both Kongen av Slanger and Fenrir display outstanding performances, being always beyond loyal to the foundations of Black Metal with their sounding. And finally, a brutal carnage named Ave Leviathan, which in my opinion is the most complete and gripping of the four tracks, transpires darkness and hate, switching from sheer bestiality played at full speed to slower but extremely heavy passages. The rhythmic drumming by Kunstdood matches perfectly with the infernal sounding emanating from guitar, bass and vocals, being the final ingredient in this full-bodied hymn of the netherworld.

While we all wait for the debutant full-length opus by Mørknatt, you can go give them a hellish shout at their Facebook page and enjoy their unyielding Black Metal on their YouTube channel, where you can listen to the entire Witchcraft of Domination EP. And in order to show your proper support to the independent metal scene, you can buy your digital copy of the album at their official BandCamp page. As aforementioned, it looks like Spain is an amazing alternative for fans of old school Norwegian Black Metal that want to “think outside Norway”, with the blasphemous and aggressive music by Mørknatt containing everything you look for in this legendary subgenre of extreme music.

Best moments of the album: Ave Leviathan.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Independent

Track listing
1. Calanda of Antichrist 4:54
2. Satanic Sex 4:06
3. Serpents 4:04
4. Ave Leviathan 5:46

Band members
Fenrir – vocals
Kongen av Slanger – lead guitar
Nergous – rythm guitar
Kunstdood – drums