Pa Vesh En have been very prolific of late. Spewing out his fourth release in a year the anonymous Belarusian continues his exploration into some of the deepest, darkest recesses of the black metal sphere with his first full-length proper, “Church of Bones”. Managing to balance experimentation and traditionalism to almost faultless results, “Church of Bones” is at first a disorientating listen that mixes the bleakness and weirdness of bands like Black Cilice or Xasthur, and the industrialisms of (early) Gnaw Their Tongues into a frankly fucking terrifying whole.
The level of detail prevalent in these eight tracks is nothing short of staggering as the dizzying discordant riffs, lo-fi synths and black as pitch melodies bend and swirl like invoked demons through the air, swathing the listener in a constricting veil of utter desolation that is as genuine as it is remarkable. Refreshingly varied in both pace and structure tracks like opener “The Wilderness of Cursed Souls”, “The Venom Seed” and album highlight “A Funeral Procession” showcase just how much work has gone into producing this release, with dense walls of controlled noise permeating underneath its bone solid black metal foundations. The suitably grim, reverb-drenched production creates the illusion that this could have been recorded in some vast forgotten tomb, with all the intricate tonalities crashing mercilessly together in waves of unsettling discordance. It’s that cavernous, murky atmosphere that really makes this release the unsettling beast that it is, giving a sense of otherworldliness that is totally immersive and utterly unique.
All in all, “Church of Bones” far more than just another black metal album, it is an actual experience that requires a lot of almost meditative concentration from the listener to fully comprehend. Once you’re there though, in that dark, twisted landscape of industrialised bleakness, it is impossible to escape. One of the most immersive experimental black metal albums I have come across in a long time, and one that you would be a fool to miss. (DaveW)
Most music reviewed up here is violent. While readers will claim most bands go soft through their career, other people – especially the ones who claim they like all types of music – will instantly start bleeding out of their ears after hearing the first couple of notes of basically any release that has a review published up here. That’s one of the signs something with the music is done right. Yet some artists on this side of the music ‘underground’ are capable of combining two of the literally opposing types of Black Metal, the raw and the ambient kind.
The mysterious person hiding behind the Pa Vesh En moniker is one of those who possess this unusual talent and still manages to remain unpredictable (in the sense he’s staying true to the mixture of elements which make his work recognizable, so you can have an idea about what you’re gonna get, yet you have no clue how it’s gonna sound). But mostly, this artist from Belarus apparently likes to keep people busy with his creations. “Church of Bones” is his first full length, released in 2018, as a part of five releases all together in last year (a demo, an EP, a split with Temple Moon, a full length and a compilation of the two demos – one from 2017 and the one in 2018).
From a brief and distorted intro, the opening song ‘the Wilderness of Cursed Souls’ turns into mid paced, frightening combination of melodies, hidden below the concoction of chimerical riffing, tormented shrieks and precise drumming. Most of the album actually follows this ‘formula’, occasionally speeding up or slowing down a bit or adding some white noise or deeply buried sounds similar to clean singing. The lo-fi production adds up to the frightening and hallucinatory atmosphere.
This is one of those mind bending releases, if you’re willing to invest your time into it. It’s determined and disturbing, yet hypnotic and charming. Whoever is hidden behind this project, sure knows what he’s doing – the ones who like his work, will feel calmed after this and the rest will probably get nightmares. (Black Mary)