It's a brand new year ahead filled with great music, and on the 2nd January this interesting album was released and has kicked off 2023 in a great way.
The St. Petersburg, Russia-based artist Vladimir Frith is a multi-instrumentalist that set up several bands and projects on his own, ranging from ambient, experimental electronics, neoclassical folk and extreme metal. Bands he conceived are for example Reflection Nebula, Drwa, Alice Dodo and Рожь.
Рожь is Cyrillic for the word Rye in English, and with this band, he released so far a demo, a couple of EP’s and two full lengths. Всё is the latest and sophomore after 2021 Вечное, which really surprised me back then. Всё was all done by Frith at his home: lyrics, music and mixing so you can really call this a DIY product. But the level of talent in both composing and recording is extremely high nowadays in the homemade scene. Accompanied with the evolution of possibilities and quality in technics and equipment, more and more interesting indivualistic music comes to the surface. Rye is definitely a good example of this.
First song Прощай starts peacefully with the calm sound of an owl and other animals in the night. Slowly, an atmospheric synth orchestra comes swelling from the back to the foreground and then the cymbals kick off and black metal comes blasting in full throttle. The cool thing is that a typical black metal scream is only used occasionally on Rye’s music in general, and on this album as well. Shamanic folk chanting is used the most and in different ways, which creates a real eerie and mysterious atmosphere.
In Трехногая слава a repeating effected violin sets the mood, while more layers of instrumentation grow with a certain drone beneath, and a short dark spoken word on top. The volume rises increasingly and the chanting returns. A tremolo guitar goes off in the back and disappears abruptly, only later to be brought back again. A lot of things are happening in these six minute as you can read. And that’s why I appreciate this album so much. It’s one man’s own brainchild, but there are worlds to discover in his musical spectrum.
Истина is a ten minute long journey that opens with the sound of raindrops, after which another black blast follows. That blast changes into an instrumental spheric mid-tempo groove, with a nice melancholic guitar solo that echoes long underneath the layered chants that continue to grow. And then the blasting fades in again for a couple of minutes while the guitar echoes and the chanting continues. Finally the mid-tempo groove takes over again and brings this fantastic song to an end. Just brilliantly done.
Зовёт меня is a 1.40 minute instrumental bridge towards Навсегда that comes bursting in with a thundering bass as a drone underneath. The song feels heavy yet open and transparent with all its layers. The first half of the song is post-metal at its best with a fantastic drum acceleration. This first part sometimes reminds me of a mild version of Year of no Light. Later on a blackened scream inserts itself, and the song builds to an abrupt ending.
Аминь is the fourteen and a half minute album closer. Another stellar song with great song writing. It begins with a repeating post-rockish guitar chord with another guitar added later on that has the same tone as the guitar in the opening of Amenra’s A Solitary Reign. Not a bad song to be compared with. On the contrary! The song takes its time, and then all of a sudden a guitar feedback pulls you out of your trance and a heavy, fat and slow doom riff washes in. Drums and chanting choirs join in and when later on a filthy guttural grunt appears with over the top violins and other soundscapes, the song grows into a somewhat insane Godspeed You Black Emperor! funeral doom version. The last three minutes the calmness returns with a shamanic chant and instrumentation. And when the music dies out the album comes to an end.
As I already said, what a great way to start the new year. The bar is set high by this extraordinary musician. Firth dares to push the boundaries and somehow he’s able to give the feeling you are listening to a black metal album, but using very little of the typical ingredients found in that genre. The blend of dark folk, soundscapes, doom, drone and chanting vocals is innovative with an beautifully impressive result. Give this man and his musical brainchild (s) a visit and the recognition he deserves.