Smaga - _My Lands_
(Dark Moon Productions, 2008)
by: Alexandra Erickson (6 out of 10)
Black metal may be experiencing a renaissance, or at least it's gaining plenty of popularity, and it seems as though Russia and eastern Europe are ground zero for this new wave of the music. Smaga, a Russian band (formerly Cernunn) have put this new black metal berth to use on their release, _My Lands_. At just four tracks long, it's an exceptionally traditional sounding effort for such a young sub-genre of black metal. They call themselves Slavonic Pagan black metal and they have that sound down pretty well. A little faster paced and bass-laden than some of their volkisch black metal brethren, you can still feel it running deep in their melodies and appreciation for the pagan sound. And with this as their first release, Smaga really feel like they have nowhere to go but up. With the rise of Russian black metal in particular, they're doing it beautifully and at the best time. Emotionally evocative, conjuring images with their folk overlays and chanting vocals, then thrown aside with growling black metal standards, this effort hits the nail on the head of melodic pagan black metal. _My Lands_ flows without hesitation or remorse, through the ebbs and recessions of folk inspired lulls and torn apart by relentless drums and disrhythmic guitars. Fans of Hate Forest, Drudkh, Temnozor (earlier), and Kroda can appreciate this band's potential. This release is a strong one, I'm just really eager to see how they progress as they hone their sound.

Contact: http://www.smaga.org

(article published 27/4/2008)


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