Review: Massenhinrichtung – Zakon Zbroi

Posted: July 7, 2015 in Reviews
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Drawing inspiration from dark times in their nation’s past, Belarusian pagan black metallers Massenhinrichtung (German for ‘mass execution’) have released ‘Zakon Zbroi’ on Darker than Black Records. It is their second full length, coming a full seven years after their debut ‘Go Beyond Gist’.

After the thrumming, swelling ambience of first track ‘The Dawn Upon the Bug River’, ‘Zakon Zbroi’ kicks into high gear with the scathing ‘The Order of Force’, which is laced with uber catchy melodies within the razor sharp riffing. Massenhinrichtung have this wonderful authenticity about their music. I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard another Belarusian band before now, but it feels very much like tradition instruments and themes are part and parcel of the record. The record is very atmospheric, and reminds me a lot of Drudkh’s more esoteric moments.

‘The Ghost of Devastated Motherland’ is a great example of how to combine folk and pagan melodies of influence without taking away the savagery of the metal. It has some pagan elements but the black metal core is always evident. The additional instrumentation is done elegantly and subtly. ‘The Blizzard’ positively gallops along, with a suitably relentless blastbeat storm bearing down on us, while the ghostly intro to ‘The Paths to Stellar Swamps’ bleeds into a soaringly melodic black metal song with dashes of clean vocals and little Celtic nuances. It’s probably the most accomplished piece here musically, with a ripping solo to boot. ‘The Winter of Belarusian Lands’ is also suitably Drudkh-esque, with mournful violin meshing into the song nicely.

Massenhinrichtung are an exciting band. Combining pagan/folk influences and black metal without hitting every cliche in the book is difficult, but ‘Zakon Zbroi’ ticks all the boxes without seeming passe. The melodic riffs are addictive, while the harder passages provide a welcome headbanging session. ‘Zakon Zbroi’ is likely to be up there as one of my favourite black metal releases of 2015 at the end of the year.


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