'Evolution of Degradation'

(Nocturnal Brights Productions)

MARK: 95/100



We are proudly the first ones in the world to listen to the fourth CD by the Russian geniuses of Extreme metal after a good number of delays prior to the release by the Emilian label.
This record basically mixes Black and Thrash metal like in the past sometimes evolving the lesson of Setherial in "Endtime Divine", but there is much much more than in an average album of the genre. Take the drunk witch vocals of Stellarghost, who may sometimes remind of the early Lauri Bravo or Opera IX's vocalist Cadaveria, or take the clean vocals, used for the first time, overdubbed with the screaming.
Another novelty comes from the arrangements which have achieved the apex this time: involving, lively, rich with time changes which never sound forced.
Moreover this time the keyboards are way less baroque and more symphonical, they tend to accompany and don't go soloing as they used to previously.
The new songs also contain noises or additional samples at the end of a few tracks; Twilight Is Mine seem to choose everything with care and the result is that these elements never give the impression of being out of place.
I am not in possess of the lyrics but what I could understand here and there concerns once again the hate towards a declining society which is digging one's tomb everyday more ignoring the value of nature and the overpopulation-related issues. All these prodromes aren't weighed by many, yet sensitive individuals such as the members of the Russian band are not indifferent to them. The core of the system's collapse appears evident in the claustrophobic blast-beats, opposed to the monophonic breaks, excellently mixed.
Among the 7 tracks is a cover by Darkthrone's "Panzerfaust", the opener "En Vind Av Sorg", decidedly an excellent choice form the end of the trilogy of the True Norwegian Black metallers.

As the artwork reveals, there is a link connecting the new opus with the previous ones lyrically, visually and musically, which can be noticed at the first listen already.
The 34-minute aural ecstasy begins with "Degradation", a track as fast as a modern train, interrupted by a mid-tempo inserted to crush like a bulldozer and lacerate. Evil, piercing, vomited, amazing vocals by Stellarghost once again, and then awesome is the propedeutical drumming and mono riff before the new blastbeat, and even better the closure.
"The Last Shelter" shows more evolved and persistant vocals, while another disrupting time change and a headbanging-like-never-before mid tempo catch the spotlight with merit. After a suffering scream comes a symphonic part in their vein, and later on a weird break before the blast cause no prisoner to be taken one more time!
Civilazation is no more and "Circle of Evolution" confirms our evolution touched its peak decades ago and now we're falling headlong into a pit of monstrosity and desperation, as properly expressed in the odd blast beat. Another pattern of unfaulty song assembled with a dynamic mid-tempo and roaring sounds of military operations along with a plain wind of war...
Straight, tight, simple but rich of effective drum structures and brush strokes (kick drum inserts, tom toms galore, fine cymbal accents...); the song slows down and sinks into an unreal dimension of pain, then a break brings the pattern to the typical effect of an express train hitting and mangling you at 200 miles per hour. The end of the composition is unstoppable, in trilling and again stressed out by ferocious vocals and powerful drumming.
After the good performance of the above-mentioned Darkthrone's fast classic is the turn of "In Memory of the Age Elapsed", which will be remembered thanks to the most brutal vocals of the record, the rapidest kick drums of the album and also Hater's ineffable trilling guitar, accompanied by noble keyboards till the closure. Moreover, although during the whole platter the sounds are dirty (but in a cool way) and the bass is almost always hidden a bit, here the 4-string instrument makes an exception for our pleasure!
The best manner to conclude the album is with an outro (named this way), in which the protagonists are whispered vocals, goose-flesh keyboard sounds, obsessive noises and a repeated riff.

This fourth effort is perfect under every aspect and that is why I keep on listening to it over and over even after months I have received it. To the old fans: don't worry if the duo (+ a session drummer) has decided to unveil their faces for the first time, since their characteristical recipe of aggression, symphonism and originality has been preserved; just an artistic move in order to complete the artwork without stepping not even one centimeter back from the invisible line of extremism that has made them so beloved. Eternal respect to these Artists.

MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 2nd December, 2009

Line-up on this record:
Hater - g., b.
Stellarghost - keys and female v.
Alcothron - session d.


E-mail: stellarghost@nm.ru

-When the Twilight Covers the World (CD, 2001 - re-released in 2005)
-The Egregor of Evil (CD, 2002)
-Wreaking Overrun (CD, 2003 - re-released in 2005)

-...vom Nachtnebel umarmte Wälder (4-way split - 2006)
-Evolution of Degradation (CD - 2009)