Origin: Romania Ukraine
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal Folk Black Metal Melodic Black Metal Pagan Black Metal
Label: Fimbulvinter Productions Purity Through Fire
“Ascension: Paramatman” is a very interesting split release between two amazing atmospheric folk black metal bands, Zgard from Ukraine and Prohod from Romania. It’s not only the bands who cooperated for this release, but also two different labels, Purity-Through-Fire from Germany and Fimbulvinter Productions from Brazil! I liked both bands very much, so I was very excited to see what they have to offer in this split album. “Ascension: Paramatman” lasts for almost 62 minutes (31 minutes for each band), including 9 new songs, all written exclusively for this release.
The first 4 tracks belong to Zgard. This Ukrainian one-man-band, the personal project of Yaromysl (also in “Говерла” Goverla), was formed in 2010 and released 3 full-length albums since 2012. Zgard’s music has significant differences between each work; some songs have a more folk black metal approach, others are closer to atmospheric pagan black metal and others to melodic black metal. In this work, the band actually explores all the above music genres, with a bigger focus on atmospheric pagan black metal. The 4-minute ambient intro “Creak of the Tree” is followed by 3 long tracks, where melodic guitars and atmospheric synths create a rich and warm sound. I believe this is the best production the band ever had, especially when it comes their powerful guitars. Their music moves in slow and mid tempo rhythms, with a dark melancholic mood. Some wonderful flute passages and several other acoustic instruments / keys make their compositions much more melodic and interesting. Zgard’s compositions sound more mature and balanced now and the band seems to have found a more solid sound. Yaromysl’s vocals are typical pagan black metal screams, suitable for the album atmosphere, while all lyrics are in his native language, written back in 2001!
The next 5 tracks belong to Prohod, a new Romanian band from Sibiu that was formed in 2012 and has released only one full-length album so far, the amazing “Hotarul Imbrelor” in 2013. The band continues exactly in the same style they introduced in their debut; diverse and ever-changing compositions, moving between various genres and moods around melodic, folk, atmospheric and extreme black metal, with a very raw sound and an underground aesthetic. After a short instrumental intro, Prohod present us their longest track so far, the 15-minute “Suflarea Chintesenţei“, while the remaining 3 songs are each one around 4-5 minutes. The band has the ability to produce countless breathtaking melodies; either creating enchanting folk soundscapes with unique traditional Transylvanian instruments, or composing amazing classical music influenced passages with wonderful keys and violins. Of course the typical metal instruments are quite dominant in their sound, together with their extreme black metal screaming vocals, but it’s these melodic “touches” that steal the show! Their music changes speed instantly, from mid tempo to extremely fast parts, moving between all these genres and you really never know what comes next. I find many perfect and really brilliant parts in their music that leave me speechless, just smiling in satisfaction and awe. But, no matter how much I like their music, I still believe the band has to work more into connecting all these ideas in a more solid and less random result. All lyrics are in Romanian again and you can find them in the CD booklet.
If you already like the previous works of Zgard and Prohod, this split album is a safe investment, since both bands move in the same style with their previous works. If you are into atmospheric folk melodic black metal in general, this release is a great chance to get to know two great bands. Zgard has a more mainstream approach, while Prohod is for sure more underground. Furthermore the album has the brilliant artwork from Kogaion Art and is released by Purity-Through-Fire and Fimbulvinter Productions in two editions: normal jewel-case CD and limited to 75 hand-numbered copies A5 digipak edition. You can visit both band’s official profiles below to get more info and listen to their music.