Snogard – Moral Presence, Corrupt Misdeeds
Reviewed: August 2021
Released: 2021, HPGD Productions
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Black Metal has come a long way since the days of DEATHCRUSH. Whether it’s the shoegaze scowls of Deafheaven or the old school misanthropy of Gorgoroth, the genre has offered a wide berth of acceptability over the ages. So shouldn’t a pair of dudes from Raleigh North Carolina be able to shred some Dracula/Castlevania inspired jams and be accepted into said framework?
Listening to Snogard’s debut MORAL PRESENCE, CORRUPT MISDEEDS, I was reminded of Ancient’s commercial breakthrough album THE CANIAN CHRONICLES. That album was based on supplemental lore from a role playing game, and that still worked out pretty well because the tunes were strong and the execution was taken seriously. The same can be said of Snogard; it’s not the most terrifyingly evil record, but the vibe and commitment to the cause make for a strong opening statement.
Snogard definitely gravitate towards that mid-90’s era of black metal when the genre wasn’t quite sure what it was going to be when it grows up. Offering up a nice balance of melody, brashness that borders on death metal and a slathering of over the top spoken word melodrama, it collective creates an atmosphere that draws you in a keeps you listening. Best represented on tracks like the mystical “Thra:Skeksis” and the haunting seaworthy throes of “Odysseus:Polyphemus,” there’s a lot to like.
If you dig your black metal rough around the edges but still want to avoid having to go to confession on Sunday, Snogard has what you’re looking for. On the surface, MORAL PRESENCE, CORRUPT MISDEEDS is an unassuming record that could easily get dismissed amongst the hordes of any other DIY American black metal troupes out there. But in actually taking a step back and giving it a proper listen, I was surprised to find myself enjoying it as much as I did. Snogard offers a lot to enjoy here, and I’m looking forward to hearing how they follow this up.