Saturday, June 5, 2010

Initial Impressions: Poccolus: Ragana

Following up on the Argharus post, this is the other album I received in the contest. This album sounds pretty much like what I expected Argharus to sound like. It is somewhat raw, atmospheric, slower-paced black metal. One review I saw states that they sound like My Dying Bride combined with Satyricon. In other words, black metal with long, slow dirgelike elements. They are categorized as pagan black metal on the Metal Archives, which I guess makes sense to me.

This is apparently a compilation album of the band's 1994 demo and a live split from 1997 they did with fellow Lithuanian pagan metal band Ha Lela. The fact that these recordings were so old apparently puts Poccolus ahead of the curve when it comes to pagan black metal, a subgenre that has taken off over the last few years with groups like Drudkh and Negura Bunget leading the way. It would be interesting to find out then, what influence Poccolus had on that particular niche.

These are often very long multi-movement songs. The band uses a lot of slower parts to build atmosphere. The vocals are often typical black metal rasp, with the occasional clean, chanting part used to complement the eerie, foggy atmosphere. Breaking up the slower parts are some very impressive faster riffing with echoing guitar leads and thundering drums.

The production value is not terribly good on this release, but that's to be expected with such an underground black metal album from this time period. The album has an epic feel to it. It's amazing to think that these recordings were done nearly 15 years ago, because this sounds like something that would come out today. This band was ahead of their time. I don't like this quite as well as the Argharus album, but it is definitely a quality album.

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