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Arzhaabat – The Glory Of Wogastisburg [EP]

arzhaabat – the glory of wogastisburg [ep]


After a demo tape, a single released on cassette and a full-length album, the prolific MBN returns with another Arzhaabat recording. This time an almost 24-minute EP that fits, at least thematically, to the previously released recordings that evolve around a somewhat mythic battle of which the exact location, the city of Veligrad (once the capital of the Moravian kingdom), is not certain. This time the music is built around a somewhat similar story out of the heroic Slavic history, the battle of Wogastisburg.

That particular battle took place in the year 631 and set the Slavic forces against the Franks. The Frankish armies advanced into Slavic territory in three groups, the Alemanni, Longobards and Austrasian Franks. The first two were quite successful, but the most important part of the army, the Frankish force itself, was defeated in a three-day battle. Just like the battle of Veligrad, the exact location of the battle of Wogastisburg is not known as no specific descriptions of the area have been left behind. Consequently, there are several places the claim the battle took place there; among them are some places in Bohemia, Slovakia, Bavaria and Burk. It is even possible that Wogastisburg does not refer to a settlement, but to a temporary camp.

But besides yet another lesson in Slavic history, MBN does offer us a good portion of Black Metal that does fit to its conceptual topic. Compared to the previous demo tape and the full-length album the music shifted to more fierce and sharp sounding territories. It is pacier and definitely a tad more aggressive, but not at the expense of the melodicism that typified these older recordings. Because of the driving force in the faster parts the music does bear similarities with a more shrill sounding Hate Forest (so minus that Death Metal-esque guitar tone of the Ukrainians) and the French Black Metal bands of the Les Légions Noires circle of the mid to late 90’s.

While this might sound as a strong departure of the earliest steps of Arzhaabat, ‘The Glory Of Wogastisburg’ still has a lot of the unorthodoxy and creativity that the project is known for. The epic and heroic nature of the previously released recordings are also very much present of these latest recordings, with the closing ‘Tribal Union’ as the best example. A song that comprises both the fast paced frenzy as well as beautiful Folky melodies and moody keyboards. Definitely one of the band’s best tracks so far.

To me Arzhaabat has always been one of my favourite bands out of the MBN-affiliated bands, yet I also always felt that it was a bit overlooked as some of his musical endeavours do gain a bit more attention. A pity, because for those who are willing to dive into the world of Arzhaabat there is a lot of greatness to be discovered.