Hello and welcome to the latest manifestation of Shrapnel! A lot has happened in the World since our last meeting, much of it not good at all, so we’ve decided this week to give the page over to some Ukrainian bands you may not have heard about… We know it won’t make much difference in the grand scheme of things, but also we know these guys could all do with some support right about now!
Yuliia Lykhotvor is the one-woman force of nature behind Kyiv-based project Sidus Atrum; Beautifully dark and melancholic black metal is the order of the day here. Elements of doom and death metal as well as post-black metal reflect the multitude of emotions that are beautifully packaged in this one woman project. The six track album that is set for release next month (March 11th, to be precise – Ed), Spiral of Life, features guest vocals on the track Rain Brings Your Voice from renowned Romanian artist Daniel Neagoe. You can purchase the album direct from the band’s Label, Kvlt und Kaos Productions, by clicking on the song link below.
SOMALI YACHT CLUB
Somali Yacht Club is a moniker designed to represent dichotomy and variance. Named after the real-life pirates who attack vessels off the Somalian coast and the peaceful leisure of those with time to kill and money to burn, Somali Yacht Club musically embodies the boundless, wide-open, quiet/loud spaces that atmospheric post-rock and metal occupy. After over a decade of mesmerising audiences in their Ukrainian home base and Eastern Europe, Somali Yacht Club inked a deal with label Season of Mist in 2021 to reissue their back catalogue and release their third full-length, The Space.
The band’s story began in 2010 when guitarist/vocalist Ihor sent drummer Lesyk a random message on a Ukrainian musician’s forum to play a hybrid of math rock, post-hardcore, stoner and post-metal. Intrigued, Lesyk called bassist Artur to create the band’s first (and only) lineup. The initial jam sessions went so well that the trio decided to move forward on a permanent basis. Relying on albums such as Moccasin’s The Last Leaf, Ahkmed’s early EPs, Mars Red Sky’s self-titled offering, the entire Sungrazer discography and the legendary Isis duo of Oceanic and Panopticon, as well as Down, Electric Wizard, Queens of the Stone Age and now-labelmates Weedeater, the Somali Yacht Club sound was formulated.
“It was a very naive and simple time,” comments the band. “Ihor, as always, was full of energy and it was not enough for him for the bands in which he played at the time. We just started to jam and found the blend that fits all of us. Also, we always loved bands and particular songs that are eclectic — we get a lot of inspiration from such things. They are fun to play and hopefully fun to listen to.”
However broad and varied their influences may be, Somali Yacht Club started to forge their own path via their self-released 2011 Sandsongs effort and 2013’s Desert Walls EP. The pair laid the groundwork for their formidable full-length debut, The Sun, which channelled spaced-out, psychedelic jams with churning stoner doom metal. Their amalgamation of all-things stoner continued through the 2015 Sun’s Eyes EP and the 2018 The Sea full-length.
And now, the new year brings forth The Space. The album was tracked at various points throughout 2021 at Jenny Records near Lviv, Ukraine, with mixing and mastering courtesy of Yaroslav Tseluiko at Jaro Sound in the Czech Republic. The cover depicts a supernova and was handled by Dasha Pliska, who was also responsible for The Sun and The Sea artwork. The Space also completes the trilogy that began with those two albums, but, according to the band, there is no unifying theme.
“It’s a bit hard to tell a real story in our music because, let’s be honest — it’s still more instrumental-focused. The Space is very loosely connected to a single concept as it has even more abstract and personal lyrical themes. Also, the song Pulsar was the first written and named song for this album, so it set a path for the title.”
The Space finds SYC now in full expanse of their sonic elements, delivering six cuts of atmospheric post-rock/metal with dashes of melancholy and introspection. Ihor’s relaxed, if not smooth delivery runs parallel to his driving, fuzzed-out riffs that are dotted with traces of melody. The rhythm section of Artur and Lesyk is the undisputed anchor, maintaining a careful ebb and flow that embellishes songs that demand room to breathe and require texture and thoughtfulness — notably the twelve-minute-plus closer, Momentum, which features one of the band’s finest jams to date. Such numbers resulted from the band’s regular practice sessions that bore more than enough new material.
“We wrote The Space pretty much the same way as the previous two,” says the band. “We brought an idea or a riff to rehearsal, play and jam it a lot of times to see if it doesn’t go stale, record demos, listen, think, re-think, change everything and so on. This time we went to the studio with more than enough material — some even didn’t get a proper recording as we understood it needed even more time to mature and be reconsidered. Some ideas became an outtake; some songs were created right in the studio.”
Like their name serving a dual purpose, so does Somali Yacht Club’s output on The Space. The album contains a regular balancing act between heaviness and soft, clean guitar moments that will place Somali Yacht Club into the echelons of bands who have previously mastered the timeless art of dynamics. The Space is the perfect elixir in a time rife with uncertainty, menace and chaos. Alas, the new age of stoner has arrived.
Black metal stalwarts Drudkh are now releasing the official music video for the new song, The Nocturnal One. The video was originally not slated for release until later this year, along with a new record from the band. However, due to the increasingly dangerous situation in their homeland, being situated in the epicentre of the invasion, the band has requested that the video be released immediately as sign of Ukranian resistance.
Drudkh has always shown unwavering pride for their country through their music. This poignant statement is a testament to their fighting spirit and love for their homeland. The new record and its details will be revealed in time. Due to vinyl plant delays, the album release is delayed until late 2022.
In a statement given over the phone to label Season of Mist this week the band stated: “Even though we weren’t supposed to share any statement or music until later this year, we are grateful to get this new track out here today. It represents HOPE, may it strengthen those who need it.”