Nechochwen “OtO” (2012)
October 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
Label: Bindrune Recordings
Release Date: 31 July 2012
Genre: Apalaci Folk Metal
02 On the Wind
03 Otomen’pe (Our Ancestors)
04 Haniipi-miisi (Elm Tree)
05 He Ya Ho Na
06 Pekikalooletiiwe (Instructions; an Exhoration)
Where previous releases have been rooted in the historic and ancient past, Oto focuses on the guidance our ancestors bringing us into modern times. The album title could be called ‘Ancestor’ in English. Nechochwen say: “We consider this third Nechochwen album to be a “double EP” with Side A taking an organic, acoustic route and Side B shifting to an aggressive metal assault. The focus of this album is quite simple: ancestral wisdom and Native tradition is relevant and important in our overly complex and distracting present world. Never has man been so disconnected from the very soil he walks on. Just as there are two sides to this LP, there are two sides to all of us. One is at peace with our surroundings and the other attempts to conquer them. This album is a tribute to the balanced, ancestral self.” Pohonasin: “Oto, in both conception and inception, is paradoxical in nature. It is the proverbial thread of the past thrust through the eye of the needle that is what we call the present day; a musical time machine that seamlessly shifts between two worlds that could be considered equally shrouded in obscurity. Visually, the title ‘O+O’ invokes a sense of symmetry. Like a human face, it looks equal on both sides. But upon closer inspection, symmetry is but an illusion. Each side holds its own discerning features. Such is the case with this volume of Nechochwen. Two distinctly different notes of the same chord, embraced in a confluence of harmony.”
So, what are we actually left with following that explanation?
Starting with the intro to “Cultivation” is the most well placed use of delay and artificial echoes anyone could ask for in one piece. Followed up by flamenco style playing and effects is brilliantly crazy. If you were or are a fan of Opeth or Agolloch then “On the Wind” will become one of your favourites by far, introducing elements of long choral structures and opening melodies is beautiful in every sense of the word. Taking into account the mystical feel of haunting whispers of native traditions flowing in and out of this song is amazing to hear.
Bringing in the very classical opening of “Otomen’pe (Our Ancestors)” and gentle listening is by far the greatest element here. Introducing choirs alongside a very well played finger-picked classical riff really gives you another insight into the beauty that is or are Nechochwen. Flowing directly into the “Haniipi-miisi (Elm Tree)” with the excellently placed and well written intro riff taking the music into another world and further into yourselves. If that wasn’t enough for you then add to this another well written solo guitar section featuring what feels like two harmonies on top of each other playing a melody line which is just enough to take this piece of music a little further into the soul. Before the song finishes you are given Ancestral and Native chanting to enhance this listening experience a little more, this is beyond beautiful, and is simply magnificent!
So after all the gentleness do not be fooled by the metal creeping out of “He Ya Ho Na” whilst it remains positively heavy it still keeps the Agolloch/Opeth feel to it bringing you to those ancient times. Introducing some interesting elements from the echoed growls to the screams not too distant from the greats in folk metal; this is really a great track to follow up from the rest of the album.
We leave this album with the very fast paced metal track “Pekikalooletiiwe (Instructions; an Exhoration)” bringing in the greatness that folk metal and Black Metal collectively share whilst remaining positively above the rest. From the hypnotic melody motif phrasing, to the blasting of the drums, into the pure raw feel of the vocals, gives the listener a little more to consider before a very obscure but excellently executed solo section comes in to destroy any left false sense of security you may have once held about this album. We are left with a very familiar outro to the intros we once felt coming into this album, full of grace, beauty, delight and substance to open up the listeners mind a little further.
Brilliant in every sense of the word!
Nechochwen: Guitars, vocals, flute, lalawas, hand percussion
Pohonasin: Drums, bass, backing vocals
You can stream OtO in its entirety at this location: