DISCOVERY OF 2017: WELICORUSS
Symphonic pagan black metal
Novosibirsk (RU) / Prague (CZ)
I love that the metal scene is so alive worldwide that every year I get to discover newly formed bands, bands that I have never heard of before, or obscure bands from parts unknown that haven’t yet made it to much of the outside world. With online communities of metalheads from all over the world, the internet — especially social media like Instagram — is truly a wonderful place for the purpose of sharing music.
Every week I get new Instagram followers who are actually bands or artists, trying to get the word about their music out to users who seem to have an affinity for what they do. I always give these bands a spin, but unfortunately most of the time, I’m a missed target. Sometimes however, I come across a hidden gem that I absolutely love. Early in 2017, one of those came to me in the form of a band called Welicoruss, and I have not taken them off my playlist the entire year.
Originally from Novosibirsk but now based in Prague, the group describes itself as symphonic pagan black metal. They make violently cold music, dramatic and bold, heavy but melodic, not at all in the vein of DSBM, but more as if Kalmah and Arkona met with Fleshgod Apocalypse on a winter’s night. This is music for somber winters where the night is long and mysteries abound. Like, a “getting lost in a dark forest in a snow storm and possibly never finding your way out” kind of winter day.
Welicoruss' latest album Az Esm ` (2015) is the one I have been listening to constantly. The previous releases are also good, but Az Esm` feels like a beast of its own kind. I was taken aback by how much the band reminded me of Dimmu Borgir, and also sounds entirely different at the same time. Their sound is less convoluted, more classically dramatic, more streamlined. A sort of Dimmu Borgir 2.0 if you will. The band perfectly blends symphonic back metal, melodeath and just a bit of folkish influence to give their sound an edge over the rest by adding an aura of mysticism. I wish I could understand their lyrics, but as I do not speak Russian I have to believe what the internet says; that they write about the occult, theosophy and the forces of nature. It seems very appropriate, so I want to believe.
Welicoruss — "Az Esm`"
Welicoruss has been very busy in 2017, touring 12 countries and making many appearances on the summer festival circuit, including the legendary Hellfest. This year looks as if it will be even busier for the band, who already has an impressive touring schedule for 2018. They have also found the time to grace us with a new album, which will be called Siberian Heathen Horde and is expected in the spring. If you find yourself in the Czech Republic from May 4 to 6, you might want to look into attending one of their album release parties!
I’m looking forward to seeing more and more of this band in the near future.
Recommended songs: "Kharnha" "Voice of the Millennium" "Sons of the North"