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Review

Snøgg – Chhinnamasta Review

Band: Snøgg
Album: Chhinnamasta
Label: Self
Genre: Black Metal, Industrial Metal, Experimental, Freeride Black Metal
Country: Slovenia
Release Date: June 6, 2019

Snøgg want you to believe they are evil. They go through great lengths to lay this out for any one perusing their Bandcamp page, going so far as to describe their style of music as “freeride black metal” because they “take no boundaries” in the making of their brand of experimental black metal. And for crying out loud, their profile picture is in a foggy black and white, and their wearing hoods and holding giant sticks! What else could they possibly be doing but something truly primordial and, dare I say it, dark?

But none of this is to say that their latest album is without experimental and dark, distorted elements, because it absolutely is. When this Slovenian four piece play deeply into their most experimental pole as well as their most driving and pummeling pole, they really do excel. And it is worth listening to the album all of the way through to understand this.

The album’s opener, “Y (Ddraig Goch)” kicks off with industrial riffing that would get any Ministry fan excited. But, much like the rest of the songs on this album, it makes a sort of about-face about halfway through which, in this writer’s humble opinion, was a very welcomed surprise. From here, the song really soars, and while it ultimately returns to its industrial beginning, it sets up the listener for an understanding of how this thing will go thematically.

“Stream of Blood” and “Phantom Mountain” follow a similar theme, shifting in power and melody in the middle, soaring a bit, and finishing a bit off kilter. Void of Valor, which separates the two above songs, effectively splitting the album into two parts, is an atmospheric journey that begins with field recordings of elk bugles and snow crunching under footsteps, followed shortly by an infusion of electronic sounds that nod to the listener a sensation that this world they are inhabiting sonically may all be something like a simulation. It’s like those moments in Westworld where the robots malfunction, reminding all the visitors that what they are experiencing is not real.

Chhinnamasta is the 4th album, and 2nd full length album, Snøgg has released over their 5 year existence. Where earlier albums leaned heavily into more harsh noise and industrial elements of their sound, Chhinnamasta sees Snøgg turning heal and creating an album with some really great production, allowing them to really showcase their songwriting ability. When this album is good, it is really enjoyable. The problem is, of course, its converse: some elements and riffs just felt lackluster and uninspired. And while the experimentation is really noble, it occasionally dragged on in moments longer than it needed to. All-in-all, this is an enjoyable, if not off kilter, album. With all this in mind, Snøgg is not a band to sleep on, and could very well be creating next year’s album of the year.


Rating: 7.5/10

Tracklist:

  1. Y (Ddraig Goch)
  2. Stream of Blood
  3. Void of Valor
  4. Phantom Mountain
  5. Fear Beyond Death

Total Playing Time: 40:20

Click here to visit Snøgg’s Bandcamp

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