Released date: July 21st, 2017
Genre: Black/Death/Doom Metal
Country: United States
Label: Vic Records
Tchornobog is one man project of Markov Soroka. If the name sounds familiar to you then you might have heard of his funeral doom metal band Slow and atmospheric/ambient black metal project Aureole, both projects are a one-man band. I heard a lot about Tchornobog’s s/t album so I decided to check it out and see for myself what the fuss is all about. Unfortunately, after listening to the whole material, I wasn’t impressed as what others had felt about this studio debut.
Released via Fallen Empire Records in Bandcamp for its digital format last July of 2017, Tchornobog‘s self-titled debut had impressed quite some audiences in the realm of black/death/doom metal. But after I examined the offering, I found it non-distinctive and nothing special as what everyone was uttering about. While others praise the album because of its death-metal style guitars and blast beats, super flat, and obscured thick production; I find the Tchornobog‘s music failing to achieve its ideal sound and failing to deliver memorable tunes.
Though I am not impressed about this self-titled release, there are a few elements here that I find satisfactory in some ways. The doomy section and desolate ambiance of the record are decent and it momentarily helps me ignore the awfully monotonous riff structure. Perhaps if Markov had done more effort on the songwriting segment, the effects would have been more haunting and impossible to forget. The series of looping guitar patterns in this offering is really weak in character. It does not have that certain punch that will stick and catch you to get hook on the band’s tunes.
There are a few bands in the extreme music genre that can convince their listeners even with a simple repetitive guitar pattern, given that the band had fabricated the guitar riffs to fit well with the style that they are playing. However, Tchornobog‘s experimental exploitation of multiple sub-genres of extreme music does not go well with his insufficient effort to write noteworthy guitar riffs. Some listeners are convinced and satisfied with Markov‘s repetitive guitars because it is reinforced with a bleak and dingy atmosphere. I, on the other hand, do not find that compelling.
Another thing that some people dig about this release, but I find not that impressing, is the pummeling death metal style blasting of the drumming department. There is really nothing exceptional about that part, as it is pretty much just a barrage of machine-like hammering followed by a few pats of toms and cymbals which at times is deceitful enough to win over some audiences’ attention. Even the dark and cryptic overall mood of the record could not save the album from its conspicuous drawbacks.
I know that some fans believed that Tchornobog‘s otherworldly and deranged atmosphere had rescued this album from falling into the depths of mediocrity, but it most certainly did not. Yes, the mood of the material could have totally made this offering more entertaining if only Soroka had prioritized his songwriting when he was still working on the songs in this debut. I am not saying that I will totally turn my back on this band after this awful release. Tchornobog has that potential that only needs developing. For all we know, Markov had already learned through the drawbacks of this album right at this moment and is ready to put up a more decent piece in the coming future.
Originally written for www.thepitofthedamned.com