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Old Wainds > Withers of the Wind > Reviews
Old Wainds - Withers of the Wind

Black metal rock'n'roll fuzz with Baba Yaga vocals - 70%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, July 9th, 2008

I have the Arma Diaboli re-release of the "Withers of the Wind" demo which is re-titled "Withers of the Wainds". Old Wainds themselves hail from Murmansk, an industrial city on the coast of the Kola in northern Russia near the border of Norway and north of the Arctic Circle - how's that for a kvlt BM location? Appropriately the album begins with the music rising in a gloomy manner like a mist from the snowy tundra and permafrost landscapes surrounding the band's home city and returns in like way about 35 minutes later once the guys have delivered their message. Song titles like "Fog" and "In Frozen Forest" suggest the subject matter may include the bleak and freezing environment where Slavic gods of old may still roam freely but what's really of interest here is the style of music" a rock'n'roll-oriented black metal combining blasts of distorted guitar fuzz, the occasional shred-blitz guitar solo, furious percussion pummelling and highly boisterous danceworthy melodies that are so infectiously catchy they must be a sin - after all, if you're supposed to be tr00 and kvlt, you can't be seen to be dancing to rock-out tunes on tracks like "Fog", "Nazgul" and "In Frozen Forest", can you?

The one thing that really grabs your attention is the singing: it's a dry high-pitched crackling shriek that might well come from the evil Russian spirit Baba Yaga herself and it gives the whole recording a deranged quality and extra aggression and malice. Reverb added to the singing makes it other-worldly and inhuman. I can't imagine Baba Yaga is impressed with all the toxic wastes and pollution dumped in the pristine surrounds of Murmansk and she indeed sounds mighty pissed-off (assuming it actually is that old crone singing) on tracks like "Ancient Summons" where she could be the mother-in-law from Hell herself with all that screeching.

Although the vocals are icy and sharp, the rest of the music seems to have a blunted edge. If the production had been better, the aggression would come to the fore and the energy in the drumming especially would be obvious. The drummer is a great player, able to switch from playing bouncy beats to more minimalist-styled speed pummelling.

Filled with malice, evil and hostile fury yet also boasting great rock boogie tunes, Old Wainds at this period in their career back in the mid-1990s were truly a great force for evil in the universe.