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Ygg formed in 2010 with former Nokturnal Mortem members Odalv (bassist) and Vrolok (drummer) paired up with Helg of Khors, and what results is an album that as good as some of the better material of the former two bands. In sound it comes off as black metal with a distinct sound of being from the Ukraine. With that being said, it isn’t particularly groundbreaking, utilizing the odd synth and folksy interludes like bands have been doing for awhile, and with Nokturnal Mortem-influenced melodic, yet, Mayhem like chaos, gives the Ukrainian-type riffs a bit more kick. In the end, it’s pretty entertaining to those who appreciate the more dissonant black metal bands but also have a taste for melody.
The guitar work on this is pretty good. It’s not redefining anything, but with lots of bouts of dissonant, tremolo-picked chords for 11 minutes at a time, the guy certainly has his chops, and what little lead work is there sounds professional and clean. It’s black metal so obviously Helg here is going to be at the forefront and he does a good job leading the band. The bass work is somewhat hard to hear, but it can be found in odd places. Obviously Odalv’s focus is more on the vocals than the bass work because, well, it’s black metal. The drumming is superb and really gives the trebly riffs a good punch without overwhelming anything while blast beats and double bass are prominent, but there’s the odd upbeat rhythms and slower marches that he executes perfectly. The vocals are...not amazing as they are somewhat reminiscent of Burzum or depressive black metal howls in a sense and are kind of hard to swallow. He breaks into some okay harsh vocals sometimes, but it’s generally high pitched howls.
Lyrically, well, I have little idea what they’re going on about because it’s in Ukrainian, but from what I translated and read about them, it’s all your general Pagan and mysticism, then paralleling it with societal things and hatred and what not. The atmosphere it gives isn’t particularly a nature- oriented feeling other than the odd interlude, but is more dark and depressive as well as pretty sinister, reminiscent of Gorgoroth or Mayhem. A lot of it feels very aggressive, bleak, and savage as well as tortured, and altogether works for an overall chaotic mood.
So while this record definitely isn’t set to create anything new, it’s a formidable release from a band that could become more than just a side band. It would be interesting to see more atmospheric passages infused with metal like they do on the odd part here, which are great, and I think this band can be a quality act some day. If you generally like what comes out of the Ukraine, check them out.
For Fans of: Drudkh, Nokturnal Mortem, Mayhem, Khors, and Gorgoroth.