Ни царя, ни бога — pronounced as “Ni Tsarya, Ni Boga” and translated as “Neither the King nor the God” — sounds like a celestial kingdom crashing to earth.
The album is the work of the apparently Russian black metal group Koldovstvo, who perform with a veil of anonymity. Their sound is raw, but rich, and although forging through the record feels like braving an onslaught of blistering winter weather, the journey also feels draped with a strangely alluring sense of mournful majesty. The scorching (although a bit blunted) guitars and blasting drums feel grimly majestic.
Amidst the lacerating musical winds, the album’s melodies feel poignantly dramatic. The songs are rather relentlessly ferocious, but this central thread of emotional allure never disappears. In addition to the somewhat operatic poignancy in the melodies, billowing and forceful clean vocals that sometimes echo across the background of the songs help solidify this sense of peering into some sort of celestial ruins.
Across the record as a whole, Koldvostvo interweave captivating dynamic flourishes, and even within the most overtly blistering segments, powerful melodic swings are present — but when rhythmic thunder rolls in, the force is resounding. Among other highlights, tracks one and five, both of which feature over seven minutes of music, hold at a jarringly high intensity for minutes on end. The feeling isn’t a crescendo, as though reaching a majestic mountaintop and starting down the other side. Instead, the music feels like getting trapped in disorienting and dangerous conditions and somehow watching psychological stability degrade.
The music is consistently very driving, and in the more breathable segments, there’s somewhat of an adventurous vibe thanks to the dramatically galloping rhythms, but the path remains grimly blistering. Rather than finding some sort of bright and shiny monument, the relentless internal force feels like venturing out to the edge of known lands and the edge of sanity itself. Track four feels markedly breathable and melody-driven, and with those dramatic vibes still present, the song feels like some kind of royal court performance as a surrounding building violently collapses.
Ultimately, Koldovstvo sound intensely passionate. Although they are undeniably intense and their music feels abrasively raw, it’s not inaccessible. The extended musical onslaughts feel like sonic reflections of some kind of metaphysical pain, a sense that comes into particular focus on the pointedly agony-wracked fifth track but feels present elsewhere on the powerful album.
Koldvostvo sound like they’ve transformed majestic energy into something utterly ragged — they’ve pushed out to grandiose extremes and zeroed in upon a disorienting blur in which power and agony intermingle. The music captures a state of dramatic psychological collapse.
Ни царя, ни бога is available via Extraconscious Records, Babylon Doom Cult Records, and Folkvangr Records.