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Ygg – The Last Scald

ygg – the last scald

Hailing from Kharkiv, Ukraine, Ygg shares not only their hometown with bands like Nokturnal Mortum or Drudkh, but also their musical roots. For a country of which is said that over 30% of the population lives below poverty line, Ukraine is a remarkably rich and furtile breeding ground for outstanding black metal bands.

Those furtile breeding grounds did bring forth many great bands of which most of them have this recognizable Ukrainian sound. As with many niche scenes within extreme music, the affiliated bands share the same influences and inspire each other and not seldomly push their collective boundaries and proppel each other to greater heights. Such is obviously the case within this Ukrainian scene. Their trademark of multilayered black metal, drenched with folk rhythms and melodies is what makes these bands truly unique.

On ‘The Last Scald’ Ygg offers four long tracks (none of them clocking under 11 minutes) with long drawn out folk-inspired melodies and hypnotizing rhythms that reminds of Drudkh on their best records (‘Autumn Aurora’, for instance). Yet, Ygg has a bit of a more cold and agressive approach, with fierce outbursts and piercing vocals which gives a great contrast to the more overall repetitive structures of the songs. The folk elements are not only limited to the structure of melodies, but also in passages on which vocalist/bassist Vrolok plays the vargan (a mouth harp) or shakuhachi (a flute), this gives the whole a pretty organic and atmospheric sound that suits their background and Slavic pagan heritage. Though it might not be the most original band around, they execute their brand of black metal in a very high quality fashion.

Basically this is a logical successor of the self-titled debut from 2011 (Oriana Productions, Darker Than Black), yet this is a step further in developping their own musical identity. Whereas the debut had more in common with a band like Burzum or Forgotten Woods, Ygg steps forward with ‘The Last Scald’ and proudly breathe their ancestry. (FelixS)