Nechochwen definitely take their time creating new material and their discography might be short but very efficient, as they have had a rat...

Nechochwen - Kanawha Black (2022)

Nechochwen definitely take their time creating new material and their discography might be short but very efficient, as they have had a rather splendid series of full length albums since their debut, Algonkian Mythos in 2008, especially their latest work, 2015’s Heart of Akamon. I was also impressed by their side on the split with Panopticon in 2020, which made me re-run the band’s earlier records while waiting for their next chapter. Kanawha Black now arrives seven years after its predecessor, and not only doesn’t disappoint, but has some of the most well-worked Nechochwen have put together in the project’s lifetime.

Once started as a pure neofolk / acoustic band, such elements still resonate very strongly in Nechochwen’s music. The record has plenty of melodic, almost purely acoustic chunks with enjoyable clean vocals, which are sometimes used exclusively (for example, in “The Murky Deep” and “I Can Die But Once”) but also as parts of longer compositions. The production glorifies the band’s earthy sound and emphasizes the variety of melodies Nechochwen employ, in a record that is by no means down lifting but rather epic and of great conceptual concept. Apart from the slightly more surprising short piece “A Cure for the Winter Plagues”, which has the pattern and deep growls of a funeral doom metal track, most tempos in Kanawha Black are middle / fast paced and its flow is impeccable. 

When the tracks get more direct and closer to clear black metal, there is always a set of dominating, blistering guitars that completely lay on folk / atmospheric black directions, yet don’t imagine the use of extra instruments to achieve an atmosphere. Shrieked vocals are awesome and the song structures are especially appealing, as it is demonstrated in “Visions, Dreams and Signs” or the opening, self-titled. The last part of Kanawha Black features another set of two amazing pieces, “Generations of War” and “Across the Divide”, which include all the fine tools of the band’s arsenal combined together in a quite successful way. I would personally prefer more screaming than singing especially in the distorted guitar parts, yet that is only personal, it doesn't really take any merit from the final work away.

It has been proven before that Nechochwen a really powerful band and their newest work is surely compelling at all levels. Not the average folk black project, full of interesting ideas and intense compositions with great riffs and some soloing only when needed, and not as a means of making an impression of skill. Kanawha Black is, as their previous works, strongly connected to nature and would make great company for a short hike out in the woods. 

Label: Bindrune Recordings
Country: Canada
Release date: May 13th, 2022
Website: Facebook

DAMAGE: 4/5 [Excellent]