Monday, April 4, 2011

Old Wainds - Where The Snows Are Never Gone…

Old Wainds
Where The Snows Are Never Gone…
Negative Existence Records

When we think of primitive, frost bitten and harsh old-school black metal, we generally think of bands that come from the northern regions of Europe. And rightfully so, because that’s generally where most of those acts generally emerge from. But every now and then, a band will manage to take you by surprise and deliver an album that’s every bit as authentic sounding as the ones we’re well aware of, and yet not necessary coming from where we entirely expected. One such act is Old Wainds, who hail from Murmansk, Russia.
Although far from one of the biggest names within the black metal scene, Old Wainds have managed to produce three highly acclaimed albums within the last decade (Namely 2001’s ‘Religion Of Spiritual Violence’, 2005’s ‘Scalding Coldness’ and 2008’s ‘Death Nord Kult’), which has earned the band a cult following within the underground scene.
After re-releasing many of their older titles within the last few years, Negative Existence Records have chosen to re-release the band’s second demo ‘Where The Snows Are Never Gone…’, which was originally given a limited release way back in 1997 through Zimargla Power Production.
On ‘Where The Snows Are Never Gone…’, Old Wainds (Who comprise of vocalist/guitarist Kull, vocalist/bassist Kholdogor, guitarist Morok and session drummer Izbor) offer up eight songs of primitive, cold sounding black metal, where the harsh landscape of their origin has left a long lasting impression on their sound.
The opening track ‘Unholy Nordland Fire’ is fairly indicative of what Old Wainds stand for, with the tortured vocals bring to mind Immortal’s Abbath, albeit a little less melodic and harsher sounding, while the music is reminiscent of old Mayhem and Burzum. It’s hardly ground breaking or new in terms of what the Norwegian scene has produced over the years, but it’s certainly done well by the band, and authentically delivered in the spirit of the old-school founders.
‘Winter Warriors’ is a stand out with its choppy guitar riffs, pummelling drums and aggressive stance throughout, while the fast paced ‘Eternal Wanderer Of Winter Nights’ and the slower paced and moodier ‘Cold Mourning Of The Pale Moon’ are the strongest selections worthy of a mention on the album.
Despite the fact that all of the lyrics are sung in Russian, and that the original source tape hasn’t been cleaned up one bit (Which is evident in some places where the sound drops out from time to time), ‘Where The Snows Are Never Gone…’ is a thoroughly enjoyable listen, and a must have for fans of cold underground black metal from the frost bitten landscapes of Mother Russia.

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© Justin Donnelly