Krvvla – M, N (2017); Ø, E (2018); T (2019); X (2022)

Last Friday — Bandcamp Friday — I got a notification that this Belarusian band, whom I have been following for quite some time, had just released a brand-new album: their first full-length after a long series of EPs. Realizing that this was now the band’s sixth entry into my music library, it feels long overdue that I should write something about them here, to share the tidings with all you lovely people reading this. And so here we are.

So just to be clear, YES, you are reading the title of this post correctly. Although each of their names are just one letter long, YES that’s a total of six different releases (spanning four and a half years), and YES we’ll be covering all of them today.

So absolutely no time for any bullshit, let’s dive right in!

 

KrvvlaM (self-released, 11 August 2017)

 

KrvvlaN (self-released, 11 August 2017)

 

KrvvlaØ (self-released, 09 February 2018)

 

KrvvlaE (self-released, 01 August 2018)

 

KrvvlaT (self-released, 05 July 2019)

 

KrvvlaX (digital self-released / physical Brucia Records, 04 February 2022)

 

2017’s M features six songs whose titles (some English, some not) all begin with the letter “M,” naturally. The first song of each half (“Mudra” and “Mute”) start things out slowly and serenely, with echoey and droney post-metal chords. While the remainder of the tracks, starting with “Mørkt” (Danish for “Dark”), are primarily built upon up-tempo black metal riffs with the traditional tremolo picking and blast-beating, there also seems to be a definite minor-key Eastern European folk vibe to the chords and overall tonality used here.

Released on the same date, N is about 40% shorter and features 50% fewer songs — all of which begin with “N” as you may have surmised, and which similarly oscillate between dark, atmospheric post-metal and dark, atmospheric black metal. Perhaps a bit more straightforward black metal in this case, without quite as much of a folk-influenced hue.

Early the following year saw the unveiling of Ø, but just to warn you, none of these seven song titles begin with “Ø” or even contain the letter at all. So that’s one pattern disrupted, but otherwise the EP continues the theme of frenzied instrumental black metal. This time around, I believe bass guitar fans will be delighted to discover that in many places the instrument seems much more prominently featured (and indeed, just more audible in general) than normally is the case within the genre.

That summer (we’re still in 2018), Krvvla put out yet another EP, this one entitled E, and not only had they returned to the concept of song titles starting with the same letter as the album title, here we find only one song (although that one song is eighteen minutes long!) which is simply titled “E.” With the extended run-time, this track tends to expand in more of an experimental or avant-garde direction than any of its predecessors. Still primarily thunderous black metal, but there are also moments of harsh, dissonant, droning noise where you can never quite be certain exactly where the band is headed.

Another EP followed one year later, this one called T with its singular song (this one running about thirteen minutes) also titled “T.” Once again we find the Minsk-based trio experimenting with more of an avant-garde sound; odd timings and unexpected disharmonic notes complementing the furiously chaotic blackened riffs.

 

Which finally brings us to the current month. This time a full two and a half years has elapsed between releases, much longer than any of the previous intervals. X features the most tracks (eight) and longest overall length (nearly half an hour) of any of the band’s output to date; and interestingly, this is also their first recording to include a vocalist, who has apparently entered the mix since we last heard from the ensemble. Their penchant for mysteriously- or vaguely-named songs continues here as well: all have been given Roman numerals as titles, although it’s difficult to ascertain whether those titles are the numbers eleven through eighteen, or if they are supposed to be alphanumeric combinations that include the album title, like X-one through X-eight. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t really matter. We’re here to talk about the music, after all.

Unsurprisingly, the album is a whirlwind of densely atmospheric black metal, continuing on a similar trajectory from everything that came before it. The opening (instrumental) track is dark and doomy, drenched with cavernous amounts of reverb, and a similar mood pervades all the songs that follow it. Beyond just the addition of vocals (although, ranging from a ferocious screech to a deep, sub-guttural roar, these do bring a whole new dimension), the sound of the whole band feels fuller and more complex here — increasingly so as they twist and turn their way to the ending.

 

All six releases are available digitally via the Bandcamp players below. Newest release X can also be found on CD or cassette here.
 





 

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http://krvvla.bandcamp.com
http://bruciarecords.com
http://bruciarecords.bandcamp.com

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