Severoth’s rushing black metal feels frigid and atmospheric on entrancing, mind-racing ‘Vsesvit’

Music goes hand in hand for me with weather as there are artists that remind me of certain times of the year based on how their music or records strike me. Or it could be the time of the year when I was first introduced to the artist. For example, Arckanum always will feel like the dead of winter for me because that’s when I got into them. Windhand is a good autumn band because that’s always when I’ve seen them live.

Ukrainian one-man black metal project Severoth never really had a definitive style of weather attached to them in my head before, but their new record “Vsesvit” changed all of that. My first experience with the record took place in mid-December during a rather dark period for me when it also happened to be in the midst of a heavy winter-style storm. Taking in these five tracks and 64 minutes of atmospheric black metal power was rather breathtaking at a time when I was feeling morbid and lost as I was able to escape into what’s going on here and feel the frigidity in all of my extremities, making me feel as alive as I was going to be able to at that time. Severoth said the record’s original intent was to spread brightness and even help people recharge, though things that happened to him along the way of creating this fourth album helped add some darkness and ripples that basically mirror real life. I don’t understand the words he’s calling because I don’t speak Ukrainian, but the spirit of these songs overcomes that, as it’s impossible not to be emotionally impacted by this album   

“Вище неба” starts the record mystically as horns cut through strangeness before everything bursts to life. The pace staggers as the leads light up, leading into a brief woodsy calm before the track explodes again. Clean vocals barrel as the playing rushes to the surface, melodies lap, and harsh cries leave damage. Wondrous playing opens your lungs as the keys drip, the breezes pick up, and the track fades into glory. “Ненаписані листи” hammers with life as the guitars lather, and the vocals wrench before strange tidings take over. Murky blasts team with clean singing, as the chorus digs deep into your chest. Wild cries rip out as the pace hammers the earth, melodies gain intensity, and the storm clouds rush overhead as the darkness engulfs the light.  

“Порожнеча” begins with rains falling and the playing slowly building before an atmospheric punch blasts, and a wrenching pace acts as a backbone of this 15:17 track. The track feels like a steady storm soaking you as hypnotic tones make your head spin, and a deep synth coat works alongside scraping guitars. The music then creates a sort of whiteout feel as the leads burn brightly, and the scene slowly fades out of sight. “Срібні зорі весни” enters with birds chirping and cawing before slashing melodies pummel along with wrenching cries. A halo of sound envelops you before the playing stampedes, the growls crush, and bellowing speaking gets into your brain. A gothy fog gets thicker and more oppressive as shrieks pummel, the playing pumps up its chest and heads right for you, and everything bows out in a flood of weirdness. “Холодна ніч чужих облич” ends the record by trickling in through the mists, playing eerie before the thorns are exposed and fierce cries open wounds. Melodies bring heat as steam rises, and then the riffs accelerate as a deluge of power arrives, the vocals gush, and keys plink as everything retreats into mysterious shadows.

Severoth’s ambiance makes it easy to think about listening to this record in deep winter when the snow and ice can be both breathtaking and frigidly overwhelming. The music on “Vsesvit” can captivate your imagination and take you on a journey into nature as you crunch over frozen branches and icy ground, your lips chapping from the oppressive winds. This is black metal that sounds exactly right based on the elements, and considering many places are in seasons of deep freeze, this could not have come at a better time.   

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