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Ciemra - The Tread Of Darkness

Ciemra is a black metal band operating out of Minsk in Belarus. Ciemra means ‘darkness’ in their language, and that is exactly what they artistically create. The band is active since 2019 and they released one EP prior to this debut album, The Tread of Darkness which was set free into the world a couple of weeks ago via the Avantgarde Music label.

Totally new to me, I stepped blank into this band’s music, and from the first minute I was intrigued. Opening track Ciemra starts of with two nicely played acoustic guitars that interlude a midtempo heavy passage with killer chuncky (kataklysm-ish) riffs and gnarling vocals. And at that exact moment, they flow into a beautiful traditional heavy metal guitar-solo, and by the way they do that, I knew this album was going to be something different. That solo returns later on in the song with a more bluesy undertone to it and then the acoustic guitars bring the song to a magnificent ending. WOW, this is interesting stuff!

Four Riders chops in right away, and the song displays some nasty riffs, breakdowns, a clean vocal passage over clean guitars and then those contagous riffs again. The beginning and the melodic feeling in Vomiting Void strangely enough reminds me a bit of Sanctuary’s Into the Mirror Black song. I assume this is not the band’s intention and most likely that’s not an inspiration at all for them, but the fact that this evoked something in me, says it all. It tells me that this band is not a thirteen in a dozen black metalband. These Belarusians dare to experiment and drift away from the standard. It’s all in the details of course, It’s not that this album is completely full of unexpected stuff, no, for sure you can hear the typical 1990’s Scandinavian influences and similarities with modern acts like Celeste and Gaerea. But everything with a firm own sound. And the production of that sound is top-notch as well.

Call of the Ancestors opens in a Mantar vibe and keeps dwelling and grooving in a midtempo pace with another brilliant played solo at the end. War begins with an English spoken-word sample and just like the previous song this one also plays in midtempo with a lot of melody, groovy riffages and filthy vocal outbursts. This combination gives a real oppressive feeling listening to it. In A Night for the Dead the tempo goes up, even to blast mode now and then. The slow beginning of Winter makes my head nod which goes into headbanging when the pace goes up. A howling wind sample closes the track and Serpent’s kicks in, which is another strong melodic midtempo song with tremolo pickings and heavy riffs. Album closer Where the Eyes Close is a bit faster with a dreamy post-rock-ish passage in the middle and especially after such a sensitive part it stands out how intense and wicked the vocals of singer Malvain are. All his horrors, fears (and lungs) are spilling out. After nine songs in 46 and a half minutes The Tread of Darkness comes to an end.

A very impressive first full-length from these mysterious hooded lads. An album where classic meets contemporary black metal. Dissonant and tremolo, but there are twists that give added value to the overall sound. Twists through acoustic parts, fluent traditional metal (and bluesy) guitar-solos and exciting riffs with an almost thrash and death metal approach. The level of performance after only a few years of existing, predicts we can expect a lot more from this band in the coming years. And I’m here waiting and receiving it with open arms.