M8L8TH – By Wing of Black

M8L8TH – By Wing of Black - 4.5/5

Great, another band whose title I cannot pronounce. More to the point, M8L8TH is a group of Russian National-Socialist black metal artists, but that descriptor really does not do the band justice. To understand where this sound, we need to reminisce upon the first wave of black metal. Consider Venom, whose main call to fame was their over-done images of Satanism and evil, and of course the terrible production values that would go on to inspire countless bedroom black metal acts to purposely make crappy sounding recordings. Luckily, these Ruskies went for the image instead of the kvlt production. Add in a little Mercyful Fate, with King Diamond soaring above faintly melodic passages of mystical music. Put these together, and M8L8TH, with its combination of shock due to their political standings and brilliant vocal and guitar parts, represents what black metal might sound like today, if those Norwegians hadn’t come to define the sound. Oh, did I mention this is also just a great listen?

At last, the music breakdown arrives. First off, this does not sound like any black metal I have heard before, but it is definitely within the genre. The guitars are not over-distorted for the sake of atmosphere, they are relatively clean, making the melodic passages and riffs that much more enjoyable, and the guitarist keeps the tremolos under control. The vocals; high pitched wailing that is not choked or broken, but is not musical in the sense of singing. It is perfect for this music, and different from almost anything I have heard before. The vocals are one of the few times when I have heard something that actually sounds insane, like a hateful lunatic undergoing shock treatment. The drumming is good in that it matches the movement and passion of the music. We are shown blasting and rhythmic help, but it does not attempt to become the highlight of the piece, which is overall for the betterment of all. Their audio clips are the usual rain and wind sounds we’ve come to expect, nothing special but helpful to the mood, and a powerful voice speaking in some foreign language, reminiscent of those surviving clips of Hitler speaking, along with a few interesting choral clips.

After we have gone in depth into the music, it bears mentioning several topics about which this band holds incredible importance. First off, their origin; Russia has never been the kindest metal scene. Relatively few bands make it out of there, and they have hosted only one notable scene that comes to mind, being Blazebirth Hall. Now this sounds nothing like that scene, which took a far more traditional approach to its black metal, with poor production quality, a harsh, shrieking style of vocals, and hyper-speed drumming. It is some great stuff, but simply not in M8L8TH’s league. Also their political views; I am not sure if they are dead serious about it. Other then some imagery, I do not see any overt lyrics that show their leaning, but their logo and pictures paint a good idea. I suppose it does not really matter, but I would suggest staying away from buying their material, because one never knows with this kind of characters.

My only real problem with this is half the record is demo tracks. I expect so much more original studio quality from a band like this, not rehashings.

By C.J.Ulferts