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Ungoliantha – The Howl in the Waste

The Howl in the Waste
by Andrew Graham at 09 March 2022, 2:06 PM

Ukranian Black Metal outfit UNGOLIANTHA offer a brief but tantalising snippet, filling out a relatively sparse back-catalogue. Formed in 1996, with only one full-length release (Сквозь хаос, сквозь время, сквозь смерть - meaning Through Chaos, Through Time, Through Death \[2015]) the band’s music remains scarce and largely mysterious. It almost feels like the good old days of Black Metal doesn’t it? The mystery, the atmosphere – it's all rather nostalgic isn’t it!

“The Old Blind Man” commences suddenly – no subtle or gentle introduction here! Strained and distressed vocals crash against chunky guitars and drums. As far as Symphonic Black Metal goes it’s certainly primitive compared to, say, DIMMU BORGIR (but then we can’t all afford full live orchestras!) Nonetheless there is plenty of atmosphere, and it rather reminds the listener of early EMPEROR, whilst not quite managing to reach the same lofty heights of the sublime. “The Howl In The Waste” opens with orchestral flare and bombast, treating the listener to some really nice tremolo riffs. Orchestral sweeps return throughout and form the basis of, arguably, the strongest track on the EP.

“Ghost Wanderer”, from its opening moments, displays all the sonic dissonance one would reasonably expect of Black Metal. There are some genuinely threatening moments here, whilst at the same time aiming at epic soundscapes of intense, dark beauty. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the listener engaged and paying attention. “Hymn Of The Ancient Spirit Of The Forest” is a cover of the LORD BELIAL classic. Plenty of classic Black Metal pomp is present, undoubtedly a fitting and reverent nod to the Black Metal greats. The final track is a wee audio-snippet from The Hobbit film, directly referencing the giant spider creature Ungoliant (after which the band is named).

This is great stuff, lots of fun and very neatly put together. However, given current events in Ukraine the nihilism and dissonance present in this music seems to take on a whole other layer of imminency and significance. I hope that things will soon return to some kind of normality so UNGOLIANTHA, and other bands like them, can get back to doing what they love. Солідарність з Україна.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7


3 Star Rating

1. The Old Blind Man
2. The Howl In The Waste
3. Ghost Wanderer
4. Hymn Of The Ancient Spirit Of The Forest (Lord Belial Cover)
5. Spawn Of Ungolianth (Outro)
Lord Sinned – Vocals
Mykhailo Voznenko – Guitars
Evgeniy Garbar – Guitars
Lilia Garbar – Bass
Lina – Keyboard
Beard – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 30 November 2022

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