CD REVIEW Svyatogor

Band: Svyatogor
Title: Doctor Veritas
Label: Svarga Music
Distribution: Rock Inc. - Code7 - Twilight
Release date: 11/05/2012
Review: CD

Ukraine’s Svyatogor were formed at the very end of last millennium by e.g. Triglav’s Arius, and soon the band got completed with experienced members, amongst whom Master Alafern, the guy behind e.g. Thunderkraft and Quintessence Mystica, also involved with Triglav, and co-operating (in the past ) with acts like Svarga or Nokturnal Mortum. In 2005, Svyatogor released their first full length (with a very Pagan-inspired approach), while the next one was more deadly in sound and approach.
Many line-up changes followed, and when Arius (v, g) and Alafern (g) recruited Duk (b) and Amorth I.M. (d) (the latter I do appreciate a lot for his activities in bands like Underdark, defunct Valhalla, Nocturnal Mortum (session), Blood Of Kingu (splendid!), Definition Sane, Thunderkraft (session) and so many more), the basics for the new full length, Doctor Veritas, were founded.

This third Svyatogor-full length, the second release on Svarga Music (after Thunderkraft’s Totentanz, released during Spring this year, and posted, after being professionally reviewed by undersigned and posted on this site on July 7th), goes especially on in the vein of the former full length, even though the Pagan-elements from the debut album are still present. For the first time, Svyatogor does not use Russian lyrics only, yet also English, French and, of course (even though absent in the past) Ukrainian ones. The themes are very divers: social and historical topics, the human mind and the spiritual approach of it, the meaning of life seen from a universal, macrocosmic point of view, etc. The songs are still based on melodic and epic Black Metal fundaments. The whole gets injected with both Pagan / Folk and experimental elements. The first (Folk) has to do with e.g. the use of ‘traditional’ instruments, certain lyrical themes, and the victorious and / or war-lusting parts. However, Doctor Veritas has been purged away for the better part from the ‘traditional’ roots of old. The latter (experiment) goes somewhat further than before and comes in relation with a huge diversity (tempo and melody, vocals) as well as the sporadically used additive of saxophone, samplers and modern-technical riffs.

The diversity was mentioned before. It goes for the differences in between the songs at the one hand (some focus on aggression, others on melody, then again glorious epic), as well as the variation within each individual song. Changes in tempo and atmosphere, interspersion with acoustic, jazzy-spacy (main example: the title track), blasting, heroic, progressive or ambient elements, and the addition of some clean or harmonious vocals (the main vocals are, of course, blackish screams, which do remind me the most to Samael’s Vorphalack; as a matter of fact, some parts (but for sure not everything) do remind me enormously to this Swiss act).

Finally this: in mean time, Svyatogor must have finished the pre-recording sessions in the studio for their fourth full length, which will be released, I guess, in early 2013.


Ivan Tibos.