Saturday, August 10, 2019

Bandcamp Picks - Prava Kollectiv

Untethered from Fallen Empire Records (who have ceased operations), the clandestine group known as the Prava Kollectiv have begun issuing new releases through their own Bandcamp page. As with the kindred spirits at Mystískaos, Prava has immediately become a hub for avant garde black metal and "name your price" downloads.

Perhaps the most confounding project to come out of the collective, HWWAUOCH is the sound of nightmares and bad drug trips. The sophomore album Into the Labyrinth of Consciousness continues where its predecessor left off, with haunting screams and a cement mixer production that ratchets up the claustrophobia induced by its unrelenting death/black onslaught.

Where most of the bands under the Prava banner keep their atmospheric black metal rooted in the second wave's emphasis on vicious speed, Mahr slow things down a crawl. The simultaneously (yet separately) released Soulmare I and Soulmare II mine the fertile delta where shoegaze, doom, and black metal meet, with each part comprised of a single twenty minute track of simplistic chord progressions, phantom guitar lines, and reverberating shrieks. The two parts are yin to the other's yang -  Soulmare I is slow and minimalist, verging on drone, and Soulmare II is filled with fast and chaotic sections, with frequent time changes throughout. For extra-sensory overload, try playing both at the same time.

Voidsphere is a reminder that most of black metal's popularity is based on ludicrous speed. As with the project's previous releases, To Exist | To Breathe contains two bleak instrumental paeans to the void, each one composed with enough mid-paced sections to make the blasting impactful and not repetitive.

The latest star in the Prava constellation, Pharmakei is as deserving of attention as any of its sister bands. The self-titled debut recalls the dissonant likes of Abyssal and Ulcerate by letting its percussive riffing and psychedelic interludes build tension before exploding into no frills speed.