From the label that changed my mind about USBM with excellent releases by bands such as Nightbringer and Demoncy, Forever Plagued Records introduces Ukraine’s Do Skonu with their debut full length album, Womb of Primeval Darkness.
The introductory Storm from the Depths of the Aeon has an almost depressive touch to it, with the sounds of nature in the background accompanying a melancholic sounding melody played by clean guitars, and the tension that is in the air is not unlike Watain‘s later works, though as the album begins proper one would realise that the music on Womb of Primeval Darkness is more than that. As the first proper riffs of the track hit the listener, one is immediately reminded of early Norwegian black meta, with the urgent trem-picked riffs and the aggression in the music bringing one back to the days of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Drummer D. Kim with the relentless and non-stop blasts helps to provide lots of the energy for the entirety of the album. Unlike the traditional black metal shrieks though, vocalist Varagian instead utilises a semi-shout/growl, spitting out the lyrics on the track with pure aggression and hatred.
Throughout the album as well, the atmospheric aspect of the music is rather prominent, with the music often being shrouded by a thick fog, not unlike bands of the Finnish tradition such as Horna and Sargeist, and this certainly helps in bringing out the entire bleak and despondent feel in the music. Things like clean guitars are cleverly used to help to reinforce the haunting mood of tracks like The Fire of Ancient Rituals. Furthermore, there are even short bursts of some bestial black metal as well towards the end of the album, with the repetitive riff and structure of songs like Strangled bearing some resemblance to works of bands like Archgoat. The album progression also displays the thought that has been put into the crafting of the album, with each subsequent track sounding darker and more desolate than the previous one, and Varagian’s cries start to sound more desperate as the album progresses.
Production-wise, Womb of Primeval Darkness strikes a nice balance, and while each of the instruments are clearly audible, especially the bass that provides the ominous growls on the album, the atmosphere remains sufficiently harsh, allowing the messages of darkness to be effectively received by the listener.