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'Lemur of the Nine'

(Metalism recs - 2009)

MARK: 88/100


When I picked up Refawn's debut album and looked at the cover artwork I thought the lyrics must be inspired by lemurs and had to be supporting or at least connected to animals' rights, but this is not the case and I still wonder why lemurs appear in the artwork if the topics dealt with are completely different. To be precise they regard:
-death and descent to hell
-Pompeii after the eruption
-a battle between angels and demons
-a dark heavily haunted house
-a spell being cast
-a deadly canvas killing its painter after his sell-out.

The artwork was digitally designed and depicts the band's home city, Saint Petersburg, completely destroyed by giant impish lemurs; you can see Dvortsovaya Ploshchad (Palace Square), the Alexander Column to which 2 leaves have been added to making it similar to a tree trunk. The inside artwork shows the four-piece's logo along with a film roll, whereas the back one has itself appreciated thanks to the song titles written and mirrored in the waters of one of Neva's main canals (probably the Griboyedov Canal).
The four musicians even flew to Kiev to record, mix and master the 9 songs at the Blacklight studio; the result is a satisfying production, powerful and balanced, with the only flaw of sometimes exposing too clinical triggered drums.



"Intro" is an excerpt of a piece of Stockhausen's, just 19 seconds bringing to a climax until "Darkness" begins; we're in front of a quite personal interpretation of Technical Death Metal containing a few slow downs on the tracks of Nile; the song goes between fast and mid-tempoes, majestic and fiery riffing, while Andry's voice stands out wicked to the uttermost of his capacity. There is room for an original guitar solo before the initial pattern restarts, followed by low tuned riffs, whispers, persistent blastbeats and heavily triggered kick-drums on the finish line.
Elaborate rifferama and assorted pounding drumming together with slow guitar strokes alà Immolation and vocals which may be brutal or whispered again constitute the beginning of "Mirror of Reality". Later on, a bass solo before crushing guitar strumming precedes the last assault featuring a Deicide-influenced axe solo.
The long "Caligula" has a melodic Progressive Metal onset, where the drums are more dynamic than usual and Thrash/Death Metal riffs soon make way for a diabolical one. Then is a sudden devilish acceleration, a mid tempo attack; after 2 minutes the early ogrish vocals return alternated with dreamy bass lines and a riff as mighty as a sun storm, followed by crunchy guitars and precise blasts, circular riffs, on a few occasions also squealing. Another arioso part interrupts the main riff which comes back obliterating after various speed-ups and several palm-muted riffs, till Refawn mix stopped structures with melodious guitars up to the faded finalè. This is decidedly the most Tech Death composition of all.
A merciless riff kicks "Flame" off, ensued by Dying Fetus-esque rhythms slashing the listener with very guttural vocals which get quickly matched with overlayed screams. The drumwork remains fast enough also in the next skillful arrangements. seeing a guitar plot in which the two guitars first slow down a bit, then speed up playing the same tune at different heights mixed in separate channels, and finally play together again the same thick-bodied riff. This composition is also available on their 2007 demo under the name "Battle"; in this raw version we also observe the presence of an acoustic introductory part that was cut away in the newer version.
Drum rolls and chunky guitars initiate "Joseph Curwen", while a brutal offensive and a hatchet solo lasting only few seconds take place subsequently. Thereafter the second guitar turns discordant becoming different from the first; normally they are sided in order to have more impact, but one of the band's strengths is making the two guitar works more varied as in this case. What you don't expect now is an anaphora before the vocals hit a climax in putrefaction upon a Groovy-Death Metal texture. The conclusion suddenly evolves into a hammering style by the man behind skins and cymbals, thus anticipating just a couple of guitar strokes which are faded away rather fast.
"Spell", containing the finest riffs on this album, is chromatically diversified a tad more than the others and the more I hear that, the more it sounds to me like the missing link between mid-era Suffocation and the Necrophagist of "Epitaph". This track is rich in stops' n' go and in the slow parts may even remind some Incantation's wicked riffs. String-dampened Modern Thrash Metal riffs, Jungle Rot-parts and even dissonances of the old Kataklysm are also present, and then the second guitar player abruptly forms a vortex sucking everything in. After that you can find infernal guitar strums not too distant from Djent preparing you for a cold and mechanical ending, concluded in turn by a whisper, blastbeats and a solitary light guitar stroke, faded away once again.
The opening of "Breath of the Canvas" is based upon hypnotic drums and bass and a slightly distorted guitar ahead of a Doom/Death Metal harmony. For a short period one guitar goes the Death Metal way, whereas the other gets similar to demonic laments out of a basement. Worthy to be mentioned is too a long, hammer-on squeal-ending solo on tomahawk; you will certainly appreciate it because it is old school and appears to be really heartfelt during the performing. In the song expiration the two guitars interprete a different plot one more time before rejoining into a last Doom Metal riff bringing quietness back just as Death delivers peace.
Excellent is the cover version of Czech veterans Root's "Endowment", customized through the deprivation of its original Black and Epic Heavy Metal elements, with which Refawn told us good-bye until 2018's single where it keeps dropping Death Metal without betraying its roots.

One special reason to trust my words in this positive review is the fact that I'm old enough to have lived first-hand the birth of Death Metal; that was an age when you listened to what bands actually played. If I strongly recommend you this Russian combo despite all today's Metal recordings possess quantized sampled production, are sped up to double tempo, cropped together with midi samples, etc., it means you are indeed facing a superior collection of 9 musical creations in which none are weak.
Strap yourself in, 'cos you're in for a hell of a Death Metal ride with "Lemur of the Nine".



1. Intro
2. Darkness
3. Mirror of Reality
4. Caligula
5. Flame
6. Joseph Curwen
7. Spell
8. Breath of the Canvas
9. Endowment (Root cover)

-Refusal of the Oath (demo - 2007)
-Lemur of the Nine (CD - 2009)
-Well (single - 2018)

Line-up on this record:
Andry - v., b.
Dorian - g. (also in Psilocybe Larvae, Okruzhnost Bourdon, ex-Inner Missing (live), ex-Monastery Dead, ex-Tophet)
Gleb - g.
Kysch - d. (also in Nu-Nation)

Saint Petersburg - Russia

Official sites: