Mysterious enigma Koldovstvo put entrancing prints on black metal on odd ‘Ni Tsarya, Ni Boga’

These stories generally are here to inform you about bands and records and what went into them, what they mean, how they were created. Being supplied press releases and copious amount of information from reps and labels enable that process so we can get a deeper glimpse into who’s involved and the overall machination, but there are times when that doesn’t exactly work out.

“Ni Tsarya, Ni Boga,” the debut record from Koldovstvo, did come with a nice packet of info, but even the folks putting together the details had to admit, we don’t know much. I assume some of that shadowy presentation is by design, but we have no idea who comprises this band, where the creators are from, and what the songs are even about, as the track themselves are given mere Roman numerals as titles. What we can say is this is one of the strangest presentations of black metal we’ve ever heard. Trying to properly describe this rubbery, feverish record is almost moot, as you need to experience this thing to fully get it. It’s sure to keep some people at an arm’s length, but for those of us who connected with this enthralling record, it’s another door opened into the endless mystery of this style of music. It’s an unreal album by a band operating in the shadows. It’s pretty goddamn exciting.

“I” gets things started, and it doesn’t take long to realize you’re in a completely different world with rules foreign to you. Riffs spiral and tease as the tempo rushes and the shrieks rake your back, with pastoral clean calls arriving behind that. The melodies swirl and confound as the shrieks crush, and the atmosphere whips up a strange storm. Rage is packaged with power as the intensity builds, and then we’re into “II” where the guitars move playfully, practically teasing you to your face. Clean calls wash out of mind as rousing choral vocals add texture, making this feel damn-near spiritual as the main riff rounds back and ends the song in weirdness. “III” envelopes you in synth as the track opens and rumbles the ground, shrieks echo, and the playing drives hard. Desperate howls ignite as the pressure increases, flooding over before the track eases away.

“IV” starts with a female voice speaking before clean calls usher in a dream state, and then the guitars spike to add a penetrating haze. Adventurous leads pull you into different scenes that play in your head, the shrieks hammer your psyche, and sanity is pushed to the test before the track fades. “V” layers a guitar glaze before the shrieks strike, and a choral section adds a sense of balance. Once again, it feels like you’re entering a new layer of a dream that keeps expanding, as the drums hammer away, and numbness spreads. The vocals attack again and drag you through the night, pummeling right up to the end. “VI” ends the record with a synth blur before the grounds explode. A smattering of color arrives as the guitars cut a sharp path, leaving the melody to take center and end the track basking in strange light.

Absolutely shrouded in mystery, we can’t really fill in much as far as motivation and the conceptual ideas that went into “Ni Tsarya, Ni Boga,” one of the strangest albums of any sub-genre you’re bound to hear this year. But that oddness is by no means gimmicky; it’s simply the introduction into a plane of existence you didn’t know existed before. Whoever (whatever?) Koldovstvo happen to be is of no real relevance. Their music is so intoxicating and refreshingly different you can’t help but get lost in their infectious spirit and creativity.

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