KYPCK – Cherno (2008) Review
Here’s a question for you. What band would write doom metal about the Russian Revolution and the rise of Communism, use guitars that make hair metal look bland, name themselves after a sunken Russian submarine AND sing entirely in Russian?! Well that would be KYPCK playing (what I lovingly call it) commie metal. This band seems to be emerging from the smoke of the underground and breathing in the air of media attention, even to the point of being played on certain TV and radio stations. This is the band’s first album, released in 2008 and are planning to release a second this year. Well, no sense talking about the band itself! It’s time to pop on those headphones and become enveloped in its gun metal-like atmosphere.
Right from the get-go, the guitars are the first thing that burst through our inner peace. The lead guitar in this is raw, pounding and has a very encumbering feel to it. When it’s thundering away, one can’t help but think of some sort of machinery, mercilessly oppressing down on pig iron as the workers sweat and bleed to keep the abomination together; there is absolutely zero refinement to this sound. Strangely, the band also utilise cleans in some tracks, but it is not the clean we have come to expect. In fact the cleans are quite weak and sterile, almost like they’ve been manufactured also. When these elements unite, I personally can see the workers of a Gulag or factory in Moscow slaving away with the piercing stare of the foreman behind them, waiting for any fault in labour. One more thing, the guitarist’s guitar is an AK-47! Talk about authenticity.
These slow-paced, crunching riffs go hand-in-hand with the bass. All I can say is “somebody likes gain”. The bass is so widely spaced out and fine that I’m surprised it doesn’t just snap! Yet, it still gives colossal impact on the listener. To go back to metaphors again, the bass sounds like the rumbling ceiling of a Great War trench as artillery shells strike the roof with a huge thud; with perhaps the light flickering from time-to-time. The bizarre thing about the bass is, it only has one string! Why? Not a clue. All I can say is, it works.
Now the vocals are of a particular interest. Very rarely do I hear lyrics flow so nicely as I have done when sung in Russian. Seeing as the timings and enunciations are completely different from English, the song creeps and slithers along as is expected in doom metal. Yet, once it gets pounding, the vocalist somehow channels those emotions felt by the Russian citizens of the time and throws them at the listener. The voice itself has no pretensions to it, no 4 octave range bellowing at you. All we are given is a simple, working man wiping the sweat of his brow and crying-out for mercy.
Finally, a quick recap of the songs that make the album. My personal highlights must be “Traitor”, “1917” and “Demon”. Traitor encapsulates the might of the oppressive government, crushing any opposition in their position of power and cleansing. 1917 feels like the ballad of the album, as a simple countryman feels trapped inside a reasonless existence and thus must escape to American to start again (yeah, I looked at the lyric translation). And lastly Demon. What can I say about Demon? Other than it is a truly awesome way to end an album of this nature, channelling remorse, hopelessness and depression. Finishing with the weeping of a once strong man.
In conclusion, this album gets a strong recommendation from me. Fans of doom metal will fall in love with its liquid yet ballsy feel throughout whilst newcomers may wish to give it a shot just to experience what doom has to offer. I do have one minor criticism, however. There is perhaps just one song too many on this album as it doesn’t really move the album at the same pace and sort of breaks it apart; yet is still pleasurable to listen to nonetheless.