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Brzask – Brzask

by Colum Hill at 08 August 2020, 12:03 PM

BRZASK are a new five-piece Black Metal band from the Sudeten mountains in Poland. Forming in the 2019, they play classic, traditional-style second wave Black Metal inspired by Rübezahl – the folkloric mountain spirit local to the Krkonoše mountains of the Sudetes. "Brzask" is the band's self-titled debut, promoted as a demo but really playing back like a professional EP by seasoned musicians.

The demo opens with a minimal atmospheric build-up as a war drum begins to pound. "Brzask I (White Ravine) " opens with a melodic riff, harking back to the old Scandinavian sound of the early 90s. After a steady build-up, the track pounds into a steady march as Toer belts out fearsome mid-range Black Metal growls. The tempo shifts between a faster, aggressive attack and a steadier, mid-paced, calculated assault. The melodic flourishes of lead guitar bring mythical imagery to mind, the spirit of Rübezahl moving to exact revenge against irreverent mountaineers foolish enough to cross him. The track ends on a speedy note with a shower of high-ringing tremolo.

"Brzask II (Wind Incantation)" opens on a similar note – shimmering open notes comparable to early MAYHEM (think Freezing Moon) lead into a steady, driving melodic section. The interplay of guitars between Dod and Hoggorm really make themselves known here, with droning chords or heavier chugged riffs laying a foundation for the melodic, epic, mystical style of the lead guitar. "Brzask III (Crimson Dawn Ritual)" offers some brief respite of ambience and atmospheric winds, before the lead guitars re-introduce us to the spiritual aggression that defines the demo.  It's remarkable how well BRZASK are able to necromance the old sound of second wave Black Metal, haunting the EP with not only the spirit of Rübezahl but of Nödtveidt and Euronymous too. There are even shadows of SUMMONING in some of the melodies of "Brzask III (Crimson Dawn Ritual)."

The overall sound is one of traditional Black Metal, harking back to the old Norwegian sound of the second wave. There are also shimmers of DISSECTION in the epic and romantic melodies and overall pounding, driving atmosphere. Although melody-wise the sound is most focused on capturing that old, mythological Black Metal feel, there is to my ears a modern overtone to the music.

BRZASK doesn't sound modern in the sense of “modern music” - the sound is clearly traditionally-inspired. Nevertheless, the setting of the scene feels modern. What is captured is less the feeling of old spirits as they might have existed in olden times, but of Rübezahl exacting ancient vengeance on a modern, urbanised mountain town. Couple this with the lower, chugging rhythm guitar and I'm reminded of COBALT at times, without the Sludge influence. There is just the hint of death metal influence also – a little in the rhythm guitar, a little in the vocals at times, but it always takes a back seat to the prime Black Metal sound, again comparable to old DISSECTION in this regard (the first two albums).

"Brzask" is a very impressive debut demo. Do not approach this expecting lo-fi – BRZASK are professional musicians who either worked with professional studio engineers or already have much experience recording themselves. Available on Bandcamp at 'name your price', I would recommend the "Brzask" demo to fans of old school (second wave) Black Metal, particularly the more melodic side. BRZASK are currently working on a follow-up piece, so keep your eyes and ears peeled.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Introd
2. Brzask I (White Ravine)
3. Brzask II (Wind Incantation)
4. Brzask III (Crimson Dawn Ritual)
Toer – Vocals
Dod – Guitar
Hoggorm – Guitar
Darlig – Bass
Bolle – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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