Tchornobog by TchornobogRelease date: July 21, 2017
Label: I, Voidhanger Records
The underground metal scene is rife with little gems waiting to break the surface zombie-style from the depths that they dwell, and in discovering this album it’s clear that one act to keep one’s Sauron-esque eye on is USA-based Tchornobog, project of Ukrainian hell-spawn Markov Soroka. At just 22 years of age he’s already garnering praise and ‘genius’ status and being the sole member of previous bands, the doom-shrouded slow and ambient black metal’s Aureole, he’s got a fair amount of respect under his belt at such an early age. So, what is Tchornobog all about?
Conceived in 2009 Tchornobog has clearly been a long gestating entity as well as a deeply personal project for Soroka. Tchornobog, or more commonly Chernobog, is a part of Slavic folklore, meaning ‘the black god’, he is associated with the misery of the world such as famine, poverty and illness. Though not much is known about Soroka, through rare interviews it’s fairly obvious there have been certain events he has struggled through that have shaped his life, “The Tchornobog entity is a monument of my own personal desire to wrestle with my own demons, or in this case, ‘my Tchornobog’. I believe that everyone has their own Tchornobog that they are constantly wrestling with and have their own ways of coping with it, and this was mine in some ways.” Think of Tchornobog as a representation for Soroka’s inner demons.
The barbaric opener ‘The Vomiting Tchornobog (Slithering Gods of Cognitive Dissonance)’ bellows into form with a cry from the depths and immediately hooks you into its all-consuming torrent of blackness. Crazed solos and groove-laden blast beats tear through the cavernous atmosphere and the sudden inclusion of dissonant trumpets forewarns of more chaos to come. Some may struggle with the albums incredible runtime especially this twenty minute first track, which is a true tester of one’s limits to not be suffocated by its sheer density. Most of the first tracks runtime is spent trudging through a soundscape of doom akin to being lowered head first into a bottomless cave. The resurgence of brutality peaks beyond the thirteen minute mark where sudden crushing blast beats resound. The track is finally devoured by wailing trumpets and crawling strings that slip neatly into second meditation ‘Hallucinatory Black Breath of Possession (Mountain-Eye Amalgamation)’. Track 2 is bookended by utterly harrowing blast beat sections of pure hostile death metal and cruel atonal guitars. Soroka’s disembodied voice beckons from the chasm creating utterly cataclysmic sounds. Svartidauði’s Magnús Skúlason’s impeccably brutal drumming and stamina contribute to the albums most intense and penetrating song.
The crawling vibration of deep strings and cymbal crashes leads to primal drum beats and twangs of acoustics in ‘Non-Existence’s Warmth (Infinite Natality Psychosis)’, perhaps the albums stand-out piece and an act of respite from more suffocating cacophonies. From the disturbing ambience comes a moment of clarity and beauty even, where the dense textures melt away for soothing saxophone to enter. The track takes on a post-metal life which is nothing short of breathtaking and brings to mind fellow Ukrainian’s White Ward. Final track ‘Here, At The Disposition of Time (Inverting A Solar Giant)’ aims to return you to the black tar of previous songs, steeping you in density and slow building ambience before obliterating you and your surviving senses.
Tchornobog’s music is nothing short of outstanding, a swirling maelstrom of dissonance and doom, of petrifying cacophonies and tortured textures. Each instrument grows into an entity of tendrils reaching out to devour and consume, to pierce the listeners soul in order to bear witness to every emotion or event that inspires such an involved creation. Delve deeper into Soroka’s vision and his world unravels before your eyes. Take the stunning full cover from artist Adam Burke depicting the mind’s eye looking down upon the horrors that have been unleashed. The fact that only the mountain and its all-seeing eye are present and that you have to open the album to view what it sees on the back of the sleeve is truly reflective of what Soroka has envisioned. Listen, and all horrors will be unveiled.