Zaklanie – Zhalnik


[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]

Here comes into light an obscure release conceived as a collaboration between a Russian female composer named V. Mengele, perhaps of Mongolian origins (the booklet being written in such characters) and the American musician C. Maillet. The disc is dedicated to another female Russian underground dark arts activist, Natasssja Svult, which constitutes part of the record postmortem, due to her recorded evocations.

The human soul has never been restricted to its philosophical use as a simple structural category, but it develops a multifaceted value of indefinite connections. The lineage with our elders and other spirits is a source of inner search, as well as a recognition of the greater position man has in the universe. Musical performance has no other goal in here but to observe and evoke different stages of establishing contact with what once was. The origin of sound is the very spring of this endeavor to regain a plane where ancient spirits are still alive.

The only (more than an hour long) track is mostly reduced to rabid and monotonous drones moved by scarce bells that pace along in a ceremonial manner. This bleak scenery of smoke, pyres and contemplation is completed by a male voice that evokes and recites the ritual and a female voice which narrates or perhaps versifies spells of destruction. The ritual finds its apex in the moment when we hear a shrieking, shivering demonic vocalization (seemingly of Natassja Svult), which at intervals bursts out from chaos to enforce an invisible fire.

Motion is almost absent, just a horizontal marching that suddenly changes to a vaporous ascension by the ignition of savage tribal arrhythmic drums. The moaning of the sacerdot grows into apoplectic diatribes and then to mumbling, drug-induced soliloquies. The oracle of a rotting Pythia has spoken and translated the language of gods, so that the interpreter receives now in full force their inhuman meaning.

The imagery calms into far-stretched drones and the sacred words of the priest and his priestess, copulating in trance-like exultation. Drums join again in this stage of the ritual. Once the contact with the spirits established, background noises gain a radiance never heard before and so the voices find their resemblance in the echoes of those once lost. Still the picture rests shadowy, moved by only some distracted bells in shivering spectres. Over 40 minutes of human time, and the unexpectedly light sounds restore the tranquility, together with some more melodious vocals. Drones are transformed into light ambient frequencies like sparkling invading a somber world, a world still haunting the memory in the shape of the tormented voice sporadically heard before.

These shamanic mantras are repeated on slightly different drone backgrounds. Their goal is to go beyond the image of the object itself and to evoke its core power. This review is only an intimate and impotent attempt to describe the sound expressiveness of the record. Otherwise, if you wish to awaken the album’s mantra, you’ll have to let yourself be absorbed by repeated or silence-infused listening.

I should further point out the exclusive booklet written in Mongolian characters on crimson-grey colors and having on its back the phantom figure of the now defunct female black metal vocalist to which the record is dedicated to. Also, there is more to discover in the other releases and splits by the other projects of both these composers (Pentadrvg, Azylum; Cryostasium, Witch Tomb) and in the other releases by the Japanese label Sublime Recapitulation Music In addition, the record comes with a second disc, a remixed version by Mhnunrrn ( a Czech composer), a guy that has splits with Zarach Baal Tharagh and other obscure black-noise interpreters.

On this mirrored version of Zhalnik, he adds many indistinguishable, distorted, guitar-driven black noise and raw industrial samples to the original work. The late specter of Endvra’s Leviathan is now directed towards Gnaw Their Tongues or Nordvargr’s project Vargr, and this due to a raw black industrial ferocity attained by a combination of heterogeneous sounds. Atmosphere-wise, the disc is surely much denser and menacing so that you seem to be hearing the same former ritual, but this time performed by nuclear shamans evoking out in the light the beast inside the human soul. It surely mixes efficiently the tremendous black metal purging effect with Zaklanie’s ritual escapism. The disc in itself stands not only as a remix, but as a really powerful black noise mantra. Mhnunrrn is a composer to be dug out from the lava of a black noise volcano. It will burn you in fierce masochistic ecstasy. Enough talking, go and re-gather yourself “in Luciferian defiance of the grace of god”.

Zaklanie – Zhalnik
Sublime Recapitulation, hoof071
CD 2013


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