By Jonathan Smith
Apparently it’s pretty cold in Murmansk. Less chilly is Death Nord Kult, the latest release from Old Wainds. They hail from northern Russia, and thus it’s not overly surprising that their brand of black metal is all about darkness, the arctic, and geographical isolation. It’s a theme that the band runs with quite enthusiastically. Thankfully for the listener it shows in their music as well. “Storm-Whip” starts things off with a great black/thrash metal mixture, complete with sharp, crunching guitars and Kholdogor’s rough and high (but not too shriek-heavy) vocals. “Bloodstained” and “Cold Northern Order” are stand-out songs that demand repeat listens. Some of the other tracks are less exciting and memorable, but the best tracks always put things back in order. The drums and bass aren’t nearly as prominent in the mix as they deserve to be — a shame given that Death Nord Kult is for the most part a solid album with enough thrash flavors to give the record kick. Old Wainds may turn to the (presumably) sublime experience of freezing to death in the dark north for inspiration, but musically they generate enough heat to keep their spark glowing brightly.