Reviewed: April 2022
Released: 2022, Bindrune Recordings
Reviewer: Kira Levine
Folk/black metal duo Nechochwen make their mark in 2022 with album number four, Kanawha Black, seven years after their last. Hailing from West Virginia, their music centres around Native American traditions and tribal rituals.
Title track “Kanawha Black” incorporates both clean and unclean singing, over blackened folk instrumentation. The opening track bears a resemblance Borknagar’s “Winter Thrice”, mostly due to the catchy lyrics, soaring vocals and opposing black metal vox.
A beautiful string arrangement signals the beginning of “The Murky Deep”, later joined by heavier instrumentation and a mix of harsh and gentle singing. The result is still a relatively calming listening experience, with spells of excitement.
“I Can Die But Once” shows Kanawha Black’s folkier side, with acoustic guitars and melodic singing. The lighter instruments and intelligible words allow the lyrics exploring themes of nature to breathe.
Starting much like the song before it, “A Cure for the Winter Plagues” is as sorrowful as its title suggests, with vocals that add to depressive tone of the wailing chords.
“Visions, Dreams, and Signs” arrives triumphantly, picking up the pace from its downcast predecessor. A lot of emotion can be felt during “Generations of War”, with the contrasting vocal styles reinforcing the idea of an ongoing battle throughout the ages.
The initial moments of “Across the Divide” act as calm before the storm on the album closer, before it evolves into a fiercer creature that has reared its head several times previously on Kanawha Black.
Fans of Agalloch, Drudkh, Panopticon and Saor will not want to miss this.