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Ancestral Volkhves - Perun do vas!!! - 89%

Edmund Sackbauer, April 6th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2008, CD, Soundage Productions

Slovakia has become one of my preferred places to look for new music over the past few years. While the scene does not seem to see as much hype as other great ones (France, Island, Québec, Ukraine to name just a few) the amount of fantastic stuff having been put out is incredible. Of course there are a lot of connections between different outfits so I stumbled upon Ancestral Volkhves more or less by accident. They have been formed in 2001 and have only released two full lengths in 2004 and 2008 before having put activities on hold. The more recent album has been titled “Perun do vas!!!”, and while I agree that there is not anything particularly new or innovative to be found here this is a very solid slab of hard hitting black metal goodness.

The dynamic of the album can be addicting at its best, with crushing and subtly melodic on one side and depressing and ecstatic on the other. The constant interaction between the driving and chugging main chords and the often crazy lead guitar is breathtaking and will satisfy each fan of the genre. The melodies are often weird and haunting, but sometimes also have a more relaxed and slightly melancholic nature. The folkish touch makes sure that the material always carries a catchy undertone beneath the heavy wall of crushing instrumentation.

The drumming is tight and precise without being pushed too much into the foreground. Some of the tracks and passages are kept in mid-tempo, while others are hitting with no mercy and relentless speed. The verses and refrains are often memorable as are some of the hooks, and Ancestral Volkhves have a few surprises up their sleeves, like rhythm changes or more laid-back and ambient sections. The vocals are absolutely fierce, ranging from the typical snarling attack to a more growly kind of style. There are also female vocals done by Masha Scream from the quite prominent outfit Arkona (signed to Napalm Records), adding another layer to the overall picture.

The riffs are played with a lot of passion, often being re-used with small variations. This leads to the effect that some of the tracks sound pretty similar to one another, but consecutive listens will help to clearly distinguish the respective trademark harmonies of each one. At times there is a certain dissonant vibe inherent in the music, but ultimately the epic hooks are dominating, with the combination of chaos and order, darkness and light creating a dense yet captivating atmosphere.

The album is rounded off by a more or less flawless production. Raw and gritty, but clear and transparent at the same time. Fans of pure black metal with some folkish elements are going to love the sound here. Something similar can be said about the cover, which perfectly matches the darkness of the music. In the end “Perun do vas!!!” comes with an easy recommendation, as long as you know what to expect. It’s a shame the band might have called it quits forever.