Scratching Soil - _Separatism_
(Stygian Crypt Productions, 2007)
by: Quentin Kalis (8 out of 10)
Maybe it was inaccurately translated from Russian, but Scratching Soil is a terrible band name. It brings to mind chickens pecking for food in a barnyard, which would be an inane invocation even for pastoral romantics.

Information on the band is scarce. I can tell you that their members are Kein and Alastor, and that they recorded their debut in 1996. What I can't tell you is why it was only released in 2001! Apparently, they broke up between the recording and release of their debut, but this doesn't explain its prolonged stay in musical purgatory.

Russia has long since proved it can give birth to quality metal bands; language isn't necessarily a barrier in metal. There just needs to be better promotion in the Occident, and the lack of information on the band does not do them any favours -- even more so than the name!

But I digress. At this point, all that our valued reader knows about the subject of this review is that Scratching Soil perform some form of black metal.

_Separatism_ is not one of the hidden gems unknown to the West alluded to above, but this is not to say that it lacks value. At the very least, it proves that you don't need ultra-necrotic production to create a ferociously violent black metal album.

Their melodious yet trebly riffs align them with the third wave, with passages of droning riffs not unlike those of a certain infamous and now reunited Swiss band also being used. Production is not excellent, but is apposite for their take on the genre.

They may not be the most original band around, and at times indicate their influence a bit too strongly, but _Separatism_ is fast, aggressive and catchy. Good enough for me.


(article published 9/9/2007)

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