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Wednesday, October 1, 2014
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Древо aka Drevo are a Russian project by Egor ‘Jarogor’ Chernyshov, with two full lengths released in 2008. One of them, called Велuчuе (Velichie), was the second release for what I think is one of the most interesting labels lately, Kunsthauch. Since the Kunsthauch headquarters were so kind to send this album to our HQ, I will be so kind, of course, to have this album reviewed, despite its age.

Велuчuе was (is) released in an edition of 1,000 copies, amongst which 50 handmade slipcase CD’s with the logo done in wood, and in 2009 Werewolf Promotion released the tape-version of this recording (in an edition limited to 320 copies). The ten tracks, which include a great Carpathian Forest-cover, last for about fifty five minutes. It opens with the title track, which sounds like a somewhat desperate yet nice symphonic introduction. I can’t get rid of a certain early-Sopor Aeternus impression, with towards the end little more floating ambience. Созидание sounds more happy, and the energetic xylophones and percussions give another view. Besides, the varying instrumental track (though with that very same melodic theme; unique I must say) introduces electric guitars and bass on top of the drum programming and synths, and this might sound little forced; yet the sober acoustic outro on this track, then again, is very integer. Белое Имя is a very short piece with violins and sampled spoken words. Ледяная Явь then again is the first heavy track, based on ‘traditional’ Metal instruments (you know: drums, electric guitars and basses), with melodic leads, technical riffs and a pounding rhythm section. It includes Shred and Prog, yet with a focus on melody and atmosphere. The second part of the song includes fairy-like keyboard lines and an esoteric xylophone-alike melody, replacing the Metal-oriented identity for an Ambient one. And then, surprise surprise! Out of the black, er, I mean, out of the blue, Воля-Вольница, the fifth song, brings a little primitive, primal form of Black Metal, which unfortunately cannot convince. It’s not because of the chaotic execution, yet rather due to the uninspired performance that I am disappointed. There are a couple of nice details (once again the ambient-injected details play an important role), but the sound and the general composition are very ridicule, I think. Рассвет opens somewhat in the vein of Ildfrost’s Natanael, but after almost one minute it turns once again, like the former track, into a form of primitive blackened Metal, yet permanently interspersed with classical, ambient and neo-industrial elements. For sure Metraton (the Italian one) come to mind. Тишина... is another unusual soundscape, with soft-electronics, spoken words, spacy sounds, background noises and more of that sh*t. Next come Зима (I), bringing primitive (instrumental) First / Second Wave Pagan / Black Metal with lots of distinctive elements (the keyboard lines aren’t but one single aspect of the diversity), followed by Зима (II), which is totally different from (I). It’s based on a fine piano melody, with a wide range on clean vocals (baritone, semi-spoken, chants and whispers), atmospheric keyboard lines and brave percussions, and a modest lead solo. The Carpathian Forest-cover, finally, The Northern Hemisphere, one of the most ‘atmospheric’ tracks by this Norwegian Army of Death and Evil, is not a bad choice, and I have to admit that the execution is truly remarkable, and perfectly fitting to the core of Древо.

So… it took quite some listens before I finally understood the mission of this band, but even now I am not sure that this concept fits. There are plenty hiatuses that bother me, and the nasty sound too doesn’t make me any happier. However, I haven’t experienced such a unique recording for quite some time (okay, that’s little exaggerated), and seen Kunsthauch’s unusual signings… Check it out yourself and be critical, yet not narrow-minded, and who knows; you might fall in love, I mean, in hate and disgust…