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Ohvrikivi
The Tenebrous Journey (split with Bladesmith)

Two bands from the Baltic here that play Pagan Black Metal, this split is notable in the fact the bands take turn to play tracks (Bladesmith tracks are 1, 3 and 5, Ohvrikivi appear on 2, 4 and 6) rather than having a side each. Despite my initial apprehension about this ‘rotating band’ format, it works surprisingly well.
I have followed Ohvrikivi’s progress since 2002 and though sole member Berg is not especially prolific (Ohvrikivi have been in existence on and off since 1998 and this is only their second release), he does make up for this by putting a lot of thought into Ohvrikivi’s music, simple though it might sound. “Tuhast Tõus” and “Through the Forest” are re-recordings of older tracks, with the benefit of a more organic production and real drums, Ohvrikivi certainly bring to mind Isengard or “Aske” by Burzum. The newer track “Mu Langenud Vennad” wanders along at a dreamy mid-tempo with its hypnotic riffs and fluid structure. The guitar sound could be a little thicker, but we are seeing real potential with this project and the full length that is due to be recorded soon should be a highlight.
Bladesmith were a new name to me and I confess to being pleasantly surprised by their side of the split. Strongly influenced by “Thousand Swords” era Graveland, but with the fuller, more epic sound of that bands more recent material we have three long compositions which thankfully gets the balance between metal riffs and bombast just right. Fans of Bathory’s “Hammerheart” and so on will find much to enjoy here. To me, it sounded a little pompous next to Ohvrikivi’s more low key melancholy, but the two bands have enough common ground for this not to sound disjointed.
An interesting release, produced on CD-R with pro-printed sleeve. It is available from Mahtra Records for 4 GBP / 6 EUR / 8USD including postage (contact below).

Author: Jamie Smith
Zine: Arcana Noctis
www.arcana-noctis.com

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