Here's another one man black metal act, this time from West Ukraine. Contemplation is the latest Svarga Music release from the band known as Zgard (the musicians real name is Yaromisl), and includes 7 songs of melodic, richly textured pagan-oriented black metal. Plenty of folk & symphonic elements to be found on this one, as well as various nature sounds, creating some moments of real beauty to go along with the ravaging, violent black metal. "Highlands" includes some gorgeous flute, keyboards, and bird calls, which offsets the punishing riffing and haunting vocal rasps. "Through the Forest" has an enchanting quality to it, almost as if you are a hawk or eagle soaring through and above a snow capped forest, while both "Incantation Memory" and "Wedge of Cranes" do a great job of mixing furious black metal with Carpathian folklore and moments of tranquil yet creepy atmosphere. The instrumental "Silence" is a pretty gorgeous slice of symphonic folk, and the ominous title cut takes the listener on a cold, dark journey through an enchanting wilderness, complete with violent rasps, soaring female vocals, and layers of instrumentation. The most menacing piece is saved for last, in the form of the 11-minute "Underworld Bells", a harrowing black metal journey that mixes in some prog-rock as well as folk for a great ride.
This is pretty exceptional stuff, as Zgard does a fine job blending many appealing elements into a black metal framework for an overall enjoyable listening experience. There are moments of true beauty here, but still plenty of furious black metal for genre addicts. Well done.
2) Through the Forest
3) Incantation Memory
4) Wedge of Cranes
7) Underworld Bells