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No, please, No - 15%

Spatupon, September 11th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Wolfspell Records (Slipcase)

I've only just recently found out that Gontyna Kry finally released an album. After ten years of relative silence, they took the black metal scene by storm and decided to release this full-length earlier this year. After realizing that I was a few months late to the game, I felt quite ashamed of myself. I consider Gontyna Kry to be one of the pioneers of Polish black metal, alongside other classic acts such as Graveland, Fullmoon, Kataxu and yeah, you guessed it, Behemoth. You might think that I'm being bombastic by comparing Gontyna Kry to Behemoth. The first band remains a very underground act, signed to independent record labels, while Behemoth has become a large cash-cow, taking every opportunity to make cash in a heartbeat. However, with this release, I sense that Gontyna Kry, ten long years after its latest offering, has started its volte-face into what Behemoth has become. Sure, they might need to become a tad more famous and be signed to a major record label in order to get the attention that bands like Behemoth get, but this album shows that the ultimate aim of Gontyna Kry is just that.

Enough with the pointless blabbering and let's get on to the actual music. This full-length entitled "Ignipoten" contains twelve songs, spans around almost an hour, with every song averaging at five minutes in length. As soon as the first song comes on, "Ignipoten I" I instantly get a wretched feeling inside my gut. The orchestrations which introduce the listener to this full-length sound so damn polished, I could have easily mistaken it for a mid-era Dimmu Borgir track. The first song carries on like that, simple orchestrations and loud chants and shrieks which are supposed to be the harbingers of things to come. Oh, how wrong I was in this assumption. Actually, let me paraphrase myself, this first song serves actually as a harbinger of things to come because there are two other pointless tracks just like it which serve as filler material. Following this extremely pointless introduction, the second song kicks in, which is by far my favorite on this album. It contains some cool acoustic passages so common in previous Gontyna Kry releases and the song does have a very ominous atmosphere.

However, I have to go back to my original comparison. By releasing this album Gontyna Kry have almost completely forsaken their original sound. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't like change, it's just that change has to be sincere, and unfortunately, it doesn't sound that way in this album. The band seems to be in a crossroads, unsure of whether to proceed forth in this new-wave of technically proficient black/death being spearheaded by Behemoth or whether they should stay true to their roots. It seems like this album is a manifest of Gontyna Kry's existential crisis. Being absent from the scene for ten long years will surely change your outlook, your motivations, and your aspirations, but it seems that Gontyna Kry is stuck in a bind. Each song on the album gives a lot of hints of the old Gontyna Kry sound, with nice atmospheric ambiances and other trademarks Gontyna Kry sounds.

Unfortunately, though, the recipe on this album seems to be all-encompassing in its nature, containing very fast blast-beats and unholy guitar wankery which outbalance every other positive factor on this album. The worst example of complete retardedness on this album is "Etos Zdobywców" which seems to be all over the place and has literally no meaning at all except to show the technical proficiency of the guitarist. The vocals on this album are perfect. I simply adore Piąty's unholy voice which seems to be possessed by every demon that has ever walked the earth. But once again, everything is ruined by the flat sounding drums which are extremely repetitive and droning in nature, and the lack of seriously memorable riffs. If I didn't have the track-list in front of me to tell each song apart, I could have literally almost considered this whole album as one single terribly crafted song. Sometimes, Neur's clean vocals come in to balance out the other singers' demonic screams and shrieks, however, these moments are ephemeral and few and far in between. The bass is almost completely non-existent. It's either that there's no bass, or it was terribly mixed.

The artwork on this album is also another sign of a change in direction which the band seems to be heading towards, either willingly or not. It has a definite "modern-metal" vibe with abstract symbolism which is supposed to encapsulate the spirit of the entire album. It pains me to say that after ten years of not hearing new Gontyna Kry music, I find this album out, and end up being extremely disappointed. To try to bring this review to a conclusion, I have to say that this is a new Gontyna Kry which sounds like a mash-upo between Necrophagist, Behemoth and old Gontyna Kry. If anyone is heading into the album expecting cold, raw, devilish black metal, he or she is going to remain extremely disappointed, just like I was.