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Whimsical black metal? - 75%

we hope you die, July 31st, 2020

Postnihilera’ – the latest LP from the free-spirited Slovakian black metal outfit known as Porenut – is an interesting mix of humour, misdirection, traditional black metal, and jaunty folk music. The end result however, is not nearly as clusterfucky as that description implies. The main body of this work is energetic and traditional black metal driven more by riffs than overwhelming atmospheres, something along the lines of Ungod amongst others. The production is raw but crisp, like stepping out into a cold frosty morning. This relatively straightforward approach is elevated by Porenut’s imaginative approach to melody; even the more generic black metal tracks find themselves progressing toward a goal of sorts, with some unexpected finale or progression, usually defined by what can only be described as ‘whimsical riffing’.

But now we come to the more obvious quirks of ‘Postnihilera’, the Slavic folk influences. Porenut have shunned an epic, Nokturnal Mortum approach to integrating folk music into black metal and instead opted for what sounds like Gypsy influences. This adds an element of swing and humour to the music that surprisingly works alongside the raw black metal. The reason for this is the fact that the black metal elements are modest yet competent; they are not stuffed with an overabundance of ideas or aspiring to be epic battle hymns. This is bouncy but not obnoxious black metal that one could imagine playing during a night of heavy outdoor drinking in the summer, with all the revelry, dance, and argument that that entails.

Even during the black metal sections this bouncy attitude is retained; via the bass for instance, that works through playful loops under the tremolo picked guitar, or occasionally when the riffs completely devolve into folk jams backed up by pounding, jaunty drums. The vocals too, whilst typical of black metal will often devolve into passionate crooning, following the same melodies as the instrumentation. The difference here of course is how well all the elements are integrated together. The genre hopping can at times be a little disorientating, but for the most part Porenut do a good job of remaining focused on their craft, and never wander too far between one style and the next that would ultimately destroy the flow of the album.

That being said, these intriguing twists not often seen in such an otherwise straight-edged black metal album tend to impact the sound in unusual and unexpected ways. Almost to the point where we suddenly realise we are not listening to black metal anymore, but Slavic folk music played on raw, distorted guitars and punky drums. Whilst this is not a detriment in itself, it will really depend on the listener’s attitude towards this music whether they would find it appealing or not. Structurally it remains broadly speaking a metal album, but stylistically we are well outside our usual remit here.

Originally published at Hate Meditations