Monday, July 18, 2011

Черно - KYPCK - 2008

KYPCK. It's pronounced "Kursk," for one. And the title translates to "Cherno." They're Finns but sing in Russian. All of this is more than I knew when I blindly grabbed this from the Half Price Books shelf yesterday based solely on the Century Media label. It's an odd, doomy record that I cannot quite figure out yet, just over 24 hours and a half-dozen listens in. I either hate it or it will grow to be an oddball favorite. I don't think there's really any middle ground here. I just haven't chosen my side yet. 

Cherno is vocal-heavy, not an unusual trait for Century bands. For someone such as myself who speaks zero Russian, the language is not an issue. They've got the sound right for this Cold War-era sludge and could be reading the telephone book and still sound all simultaneously badass and desolate. Where Cherno leaves me wondering - and, perhaps, eventually wanting - is its spare musicality. The guitars churn and grind and do very little else. The drums are soulless and droning and, yet, somehow appropriate. The bass is supposedly somewhere there in the mix but I'm having a hard time finding it. With vocals remaining as the dominant instrument here they, sadly, rarely rise to noteworthy heights. "1917," the album's single, is an exception:

Cherno feels like it should be epic. But its tracks are fairly brief (most around the five-minute mark), sound very similar to one another and none quite swell to the proportions you wish they would for a project of this nature. The album's closer, "Demon," comes closest and is the primary reason I keep going back and spinning Cherno again, looking for that "click."

In short, it drones too much but not for long enough. It reeks of glorious desperation yet fails to deliver on an emotional level. Cherno is a contradiction, a conundrum. It may just be a spectacular record. Unless it's a mediocre one.

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