Monday, May 22, 2017


Soundage Productions/C.D.M. Records
Available in digital and CD format
One listen to Haze Of Summer’s debut recording Znoi is enough to make a clear point of it being black metal, however there are notable conceptual differences that widen the spectrum of extreme music and cross more boundaries. The first is the collection of band photos are not what you would expect, the next has to do with the overall concept. While most black metal bands use conceptual settings of autumn and winter, Haze O Summer chooses conceptual settings not normally associated with the genre (though I’m sure there are exceptions). The band is based in Podollsk, Russia, a country where presumably there are brutal winters not seen in the U.S. So you would expect vast plains of snow drenched nature, tall and majestic mountains in the distance, and maybe even the cry of a wolf or two. If this is the imagery you’re anticipating, you’re in for a surprise as the harmonious phantasmal guidelines of black metal are turned on their heads. By first impressions the six compositions included on Znoi depict the season of new life when everything is reborn in glory and splendor, continuing through a sweltering summer. I don’t consider this a detriment to the band or their range of view, as we know there are no restrictions on what artists can do with extreme music. I can see where Haze Of Summer may have been coming from during their time spent devising and developing this concept. Znoi have been a logical progression if the band views fall and winter as a period of slumber for the old gods and religions after they were overwhelmed and suppressed. Perhaps Znoi is a narrative representing the cycle of nature in which everything ‘dies’ to return to life in due time. As the age of one god wanes, the age of many returns from the darkness to inherit the light. I’m thinking a bit much of John Boorman’s 1981 movie Excalibur; this is basically what I was reminded of as soon as I was immersed in the experimental rawness here. I found myself wanting to know more about the concept of this opus. I suspect there is much more to this narrative since each song depicting the months has a divergent tone. As the lyrics are printed in Russian I can’t readily describe the complete story, so you’d have to contact the band to know more. All you have until you hear from them is a lyric video for the final track August which has subtitles in English (produced by Good Pictures). This promotional clip is worth checking out alone for its perceptions of nature and the insight the English translation gives you into their concept. The expanse of the Russian landscape hinted at earlier is present, with intimate images and breathtaking shots of the night sky. The song is a fitting conclusion for the album as it calls for one more celebration before autumn appears on the horizon. Writing strings, keyboards and atmospheric sections is nothing new for black metal, but Haze Of Summer figure out how to present those instruments to complement the songs in new ways of their own. Adding spoken word sections and other instruments such as those used in techno pop recordings are elements you wouldn’t expect to work in metal, but Haze Of Summer pull it off surprisingly well. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. March
2. April (feat. Lazar from Arkona)
3. May
4. June
5. July (Anno 2205)
6. August

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