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Nechochwen - The Ancient Pulse

The Ancient Pulse
by Martin Knap at 31 October 2018, 9:41 AM

NECHOCHWEN are a duo from West Virginia who play a style of melodic, folky Black Metal in the same vein as PANOPTICON or the so called Cascadian Black Metal bands such as WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM or AGALLOCH. The band has been around since 2005 and so far has three full-length albums under their belt, both members are seasoned musicians active in many other bands such as OBSEQUIAE or COLDFELLS. Their 2015 release “Heart of Akamon” was an exceptionally strong release and has gained well-deserved acclaim.

The Ancient Pulse” isn’t an LP in its own right, it’s a collection of unreleased songs and two cover songs. One thing that can be said right off the top is that NECHOCHWEN is showing its (neo) Folk side on this compilation. American Folk and Native American Music are a big part of the band’s sound, but they don’t usually take precedence over the Heavy Metal side of their music. Here, on the other hand, we get a number of acoustic Folk songs (about one third of all the songs) and even songs with distorted guitars don’t necessarily have the aggression of a Black Metal to them.

First three songs – one with vocals and two instrumentals – are soft Neo-Folk pieces, with a nice mystical atmosphere reminiscent of early ULVER. We hear some distortion on the guitar in the fourth song “Winterstrife”, but only in the last third of this five minutes long song.  Things get heavier on “Allumhammochwen - The Crossing” where after an intro with acoustic guitar and spoken word come heavy BATHORY-esque riffs. The song is simple but has a good groove, there are parts with blast beats and tremolo riffing, and some stand-out guitar lead melodies.

Charnel House” starts out very softly, there is a simple haunting melody that gives the song a mystical atmosphere. The song builds up towards a finale with tremolo riffs and blast beats. “On The Wind” is a stand out track to me, it’s a acoustic song with a melancholic yet powerful chorus and some nice chants and whispered lyrics in Native language. The album also contains two cover songs, I like the ROTTING CHRIST cover in particular, since it’s a song from my favorite era and NECHOCHWEN add a nice touch to it (and new lyrics).

The Ancient Pulse” is a nice collection of songs, if this was presented as a full LP I would be a bit disappointed since it does feel more like a compilation than a coherent album (something that NECHOCHWEN really knows how to put together), there is a bunch of good material (both Metal and Folk) here so I think I can recommend it. It’s definitely a nice soundtrack for the more melancholic seasons of the year.

Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. The Lodge
2. Fallen Timbers
3. Nilu-famu
4. Winterstrife
5. Allumhammochwen- The Crossing
6. At Night May I Roam
7. Charnel House
8. On the Wind
9. Heya Hona
10. One with the Forest ROTTING CHRIST cover)
11. Song of the White-tailed Deer
12. Over the Mountain (OZZY OSBOURNE cover)
Pohonasin –  Bass, Drums, Vocals (backing)
Nechochwen – Vocals, Guitars, Other Instruments
Record Label: Nordvis


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Edited 04 October 2022

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