Kvity Znedolenykh Berehiv - _Za Nebokray Mriy_
(Independent, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (7.5 out of 10)
For the uninitiated with the Ukrainian language, just so you'd have a little grasp on this band's name, demo title and the titles of the couple of songs featured on it, here's a brief, albeit a bit enigmatic, translation we've received from the artist himself:

Band name loosely means "The Flowers of Crestfallen Shores". Album title loosely means "Beyond the Horizon of Dreams". Titles of the tracks loosely mean, respectively, "In Embrace (Quiet Waters)", and "If the Stars...".

Now that we have passed that hurdle, let's move on to the review...

The young musician behind the moniker takes both his music and every other aspect revolving his sonic sculpturing as seriously as it gets. Enclosing the lyrics here would have been redundant for most listeners, simply because they are written and sung in the Ukrainian language. But other than that, both music and packaging (and the inevitable visual artwork) scream professionalism, dedication and passion.

Not that the guy who operates this musical entity has any endorsement or a label to back him up financially. Oh no, he does everything by himself, in the hope of catching the eye of a label to embrace him (we're not certain he's hoping for that to happen, but we certainly are). Meanwhile he tries to catch the eye, ear and heart of the listeners, and in truth, he doesn't do a bad job at that.

This solo project's two-track mini album (I refuse to consider this a mere demo, due to the recording's high sense of professionalism oozing from it) offers highly atmospheric, ultra melodic doom/death of the mellower, semi-romantic kind -- but this one is done right, for a change.

The first thing you'll encounter is how crisp the recording sounds; utterly professional and edgy, where everything is perfectly balanced, enabling you to hear the various instruments used on this recording. Then the layering is noticed; you can actually hear how the layers of instruments have been put one on top of the other: first the keyboards, then the drums and the guitars and finally the vocals, being the topmost layer; that's why, probably, the music is very vocal-driven, as those raspy, throaty, lamenting vocals seem to pull the music alongside to wherever they may roam. Putting on a pedestal in such a way the human vocal instrument should be reserved to the most worthy of vocals, as they are, like in this case, the focal point of the album. And indeed, the vocals generated by the throat of Dmytro Pryymak, the sole member of Kvity Znedolenykh Berehiv, are pretty awesome in relation to this recording. They lament in a totally non-whiny manner, the pain entrapped in them manages to crawl out from its dark lair, the sorrows emanating from it break the surface of its entombment and darkly shine upon the outside world.

It's a blend of sadness, suffering and rage, manifested by a voice that utters them all simultaneously and in a seemingly nonchalant manner. The vocals are neither comical nor your habitual doom/death performance; they are devoid of cliché and cheap melodrama, and possess no plastic emotions or fake pain. When Mr. Pryymak laments in a soft-spoken voice, he sounds so emotionless and cold, as if he was someone who has abandoned all hope. To actually -hear- someone who has lost -all- hope is somewhat of a chilling experience, and this guy sounds like someone who just has.

But forget the vocals for a second; after all, what distances this mini album from its peers is the songwriting and the subsequent choice of sound. Mr. Pryymak may dwell within the melodic doom/death aesthetic, but his final output sounds like nothing his contemporaries are doing, especially the ones hailing from the former Soviet Union, mainly Russia and Ukraine. Whereas the majority of bands playing a similar style may have all, at one time or another, been influenced by Theatre of Tragedy or Saturnus, Kvity Znedolenykh Berehiv showcases an inclination toward Katatonia's _Dance of December Souls_. The music is romantic but in a depraved manner; intimate yet larger-than-life; melodic through and through but also truly melancholic.

The couple of ten-minute songs are simply excellent; having rich textures, the sound is juicy like a ripe fruit oozing with high production values and careful attentions to details, and these in turn enrich the music and enliven it, so in the end you get sort of a strange hybrid: life-affirming music celebrating our existence mingling and mixing with sorrowful tunes of despair and solitude. The lead guitar sounds lavishly alive and expressive and the drums, that surely have been programmed, sound surprisingly natural and organic.

Dmytro Pryymak knows how to write music and knows how to perform. He knows his metal well and he knows all about the kind of doom that makes a human nod in appreciation and understanding. His music is aimed at the collective human psyche and as such it features the lowest common denominators so that it could touch as many humans as possible. Nevertheless, it is neither cliché-ridden nor cheap, but rather the opposite -- it sounds unique and very classy all the way, and very, very beautiful.

This short (too short) album is more significant than a handful of other melodic doom/death recordings combined, as it shows the immense potential this hybrid genre of metal holds in its midst and how it can be realized into something grand. Our eye will be kept open on this talented young Ukrainian musician, for sure; we suggest you do the same.

Contact: http://www.uakvity.com/

(article published 13/11/2014)


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