On their new record CMXCIX — which seems to be a debut, since there’s nothing else on the Bandcamp profile at present — the Russian post-black metal project Eva sound ferociously captivating. Throughout most of their music, there’s a strong, almost death metal-esque sense of physical ferocity, but there’s also a consistent thread of inescapably enrapturing melody dragging the listener off into the precarious environment of the record’s world. The off-kilter rhythms get plenty of time in the spotlight on CMXCIX, and they contribute richly to the sense that the music is essentially blindsiding the listener with an unhinged musical onslaught.
The artist’s decision to let there be enough space for these melodies to breathe seems perfect and lets the music feel all the more gripping.
All of the songs on CMXCIX are identified by the Roman numeral corresponding to their place on the record. Track three — aka “III” — includes both strands of the music right alongside one another. Blast beat-driven ferocity gradually gives way to more melody-driven sections, although the ferocity never completely fades away. That particular song closes on a more intense note – but there’s no shortage of dynamic variety across the rest of the music.
Track four sounds somewhat like a doom metal dirge via its repeating, somber, and consistently foreboding melodies. Those particular melodies feel like the soundtrack to wind passing through the trees of some darkened forest. The entire track is guitar melody-driven, and as the song proceeds, these melodies get more emotionally unglued like some kind of blanket of gut-wrenching despair settling in. There’s an image on the cover of a shadowy figure seemingly hiding amidst what looks like kind of brush, and the mood of the imagery definitely fully carries over into the music.
When, after a brief atmospheric interlude, track five launches into a tsunami of pummeling blast beat-driven intensity, the effect feels psychologically unnerving. A lot of the song runs on the fumes of that particular kind of fury, and there’s an accompanying sense of the approach of some kind of destructive tidal wave that feels like it’s metaphorically rolling in under a darkened sky, which adds to the desperation and uncertainty. The hoarse heaves of riffing that close out the album serve as a perfect cap to the record’s uniquely roaring atmosphere.
Check out CMXCIX below!