The roots of the black metal scene in Ukraine are traced back to mid-nineties when bands such as Astrofaes and Nokturnal Mortum sowed the seeds for an expected emergence in Eastern Europe. When the first wave of Ukrainian black metal bands came to fruition, it acted as a fundamental base for many other bands to rise.
In the early 00s bands like Hate Forest, Blood of Kingu and Khors presented the second generation of the black metal scene in Ukraine. These bands embraced the raw and harsh tone of black metal incorporating various elements from folk and atmospheric black. This innovative method being somewhat original and sophisticate. It introduced new features to the style of the Ukrainian black metal bands. By this inspirational nature of music, this very scene brought other extravagant bands such as Ygg.
They have finally released their long-awaited sophomore album titled ‘The Last Scald‘ through Ashen Domain. After nine years of silence and much anticipation, the Ukrainian trio returned with a collection of four epic tracks. Formed by the ex-members of Nokturnal Mortum the current lineup includes Odalv on drums, Vrolok on vocals/bass and Helg (Ulvegr) on vocals/guitars. Ygg‘s music, in general, revolves around two main elements: firstly the band combines the raw and harshness style of early Nokturnal Mortum and the depressive atmosphere of bands like Drudkh and Burzum.
The main feature of each track is based on a few repetitive riffs that build on a sensible atmosphere. It won’t take you long before you find yourself being captivated by the sweeping atmosphere. Ygg’s music also contains traditional elements of Russian folk music, the opening track ‘Мёртвые топи‘ highlights on the Russian Jew’s harp. Shortly after the intro, the guitar and drums kick off and sets a faster tempo.
Ygg effectively weaves the melodies of folk and the triumphant themes of paganism. Despite its blistering guitar tones and thrusting drums, its dark moments evoke the deep essence of atmospheric black metal. The musical effort is intertwined into a hypnotic atmosphere saturated with rich guitar melodies. And they beautifully contrast with the high pitched vocals and screams which are reminiscent of Burzum. The drums are intensely performed and provide exuberant amounts of blast beats and double bass.
‘The Last Scald‘ is entirely epic achieved with a sophisticated mix of tremolo guitar tone and spectacular vocal performance. Rhythm guitar and synth create many themes. At times the music feels archaic and overwhelming. The minimalistic effect of the flowing synth on the following track ‘Последний cкальд ‘focuses on the harmonic bass guitar. Ygg captures the senses and precisely builds a dark and atmospheric texture throughout the album.
And while all the instruments flow elegantly, the songs ventures into the bleak territories of black metal. It creates a vivid picture of emerald forests and green hills wafted by sweeping fog. The guitar on this track focuses on creating a warm atmosphere, the melodies are reminiscent of Drudkh. The intricate texture brings freshness and the quality becomes somewhat cozy with the combination of the fuzzy guitars and expressive melodies.
The role of the bass guitar is pivotal in this epic track. And the harmonizing lead guitar makes a perfect addition that breathes life into the music. ‘В надежде о Вечном‘ is highlighted by the distinctive style of the tremolo-picked riffs. The layering texture is dominated by the melancholic sensation of the rhythm. It gives a soothing atmosphere. Ygg flawlessly shaped and achieved a unique way of producing polyphonic sounds. The sophomore is beautifully wrapped in the lush themes of paganism and black metal.
On ‘The Last Scald’ the melodies and the synth ebb and flow simultaneously. Album closer ‘Віса пробудження’ begins with acoustic guitar and the Russian jew’s harp instrument to create a multilayered texture. The brief intro soon builds up a musical climax when the drums pick up at a faster tempo. The showcasing of the technical abilities of the drums and the fuzzy yet hypnotic guitar melodies is widely focused.
While I enjoyed the self-titled album quite more, Ygg‘s latest effort seems to be more emotional. ‘The Last Scald’ has many features such as the depressive and atmospheric style of black metal. The album is shorter than the debut and spans for 52 minutes of overwhelming atmospheric black metal.
Release Date: February 5th, 2020
Label: Ashen Domain
- Мёртвые топи
- Последний cкальд
- В надежде о Вечном
- Віса пробудження