Russian atmospheric black metal band Чёрные Озёра (Chernye Ozera = Black Lakes) has just released its newest work “Хандра“, which means “Blue“. The band was formed in 2008 and had many releases all these years, including 5 full-length albums, most of them in CD-R editions, 2 EPs and 3 split albums. In its first works the band had a more underground raw pagan black metal approach in their music. “Хандра” is the sixth full-length album of Чёрные Озёра and it is released by Deleting Souls Records, another Nihil Art Records division.
The term atmospheric black metal is a little generic to describe their music, since the band combines elements from melodic black metal, dark metal, doom metal and depressive black metal, with a few touches of pagan black metal too. Чёрные Озёра use keyboards, but it’s their wonderful melancholic guitars that have the leading role in their music, both their slow suffocating riffs and their melodic sorrowful lead guitars. Dark background synths and beautiful melodic piano parts with neoclassical references add a lot to the sad wintry atmosphere of the album, completed by Abgott’s emotional vocals that move from enraged black metal screams and doom death growls, to heartbreaking clean male vocals and narrations. “Хандра” lasts for almost 64 minutes, including 7 songs in Russian and 2 bonus (?) tracks in English (one of them is the English version of the opening track “Когда Всё Сказанным Осталось…” ). Each composition is different; some follow more black metal paths and others a more doom atmospheric aesthetic, but they are all unified under the common concept of the album, about a man who becomes one with the winter, a part of the frozen nature and wants to leave “reality” forever behind…
This album is very different from their previous releases and I see it as a new beginning for Чёрные Озёра! It is by far the most ambitious, complete and professional work of the band, with an impressively improved sound and production. Fans of melodic atmospheric emotional black metal better check this album, you might be impressed! “Хандра” is released by Deleting Souls Records in a standard jewel case edition with 4-page booklet and wonderful artwork, illustrated by Владимир Прокофьев (Paint it black design). You can visit their official VK profile below for more info and their label’s Bandcamp for sound samples.