Nechochwen
Azimuths to the Otherworld

Metal is full of bands that cull from culture, history and heritage. From the obvious pagan Viking bands of Scandinavia and Eastern Europe to the Saxon throes of Wodensthrone and Forefather, the Middle Eastern themes of Nile and Orphaned Land, Greek metallers Rotting Christ and even Aztec based metal like Mictlantecuhtli. But if ever there was a culture/race that was perfect for metal, it was the Native American Indians. Mysterious, ritualistic, nature worshiping, brave warriors of the old world (I’m fully aware that’s the Hollywood stereotype, but that’s the one I’m going with). They seem perfect for the basis of a metal band. So here is one.

A two man project (mainly former Angelrust and Harvist member Aaron Carey) hailing from West Virginia, Nechochewn (Carey’s given Lenni-Lenape Indian name) is based on the Adena and Hopewell peoples, a mysterious group of ancient American Indians known for constructing giant burial mounds and effigy earthworks in the Ohio River Valley region more than 2000 years ago. Thusly, the music on Azimuths to the Otherworld is congruent with such themes. It’s mostly ambient, acoustic, tribal and folky, but with strains of doomy black metal and post-rock akin to label mates’ Blood of the Black Owl’s first two albums. It’s the kind of album you’d usually expect to hear on Prophecy Productions and it’s brilliantly hypnotic and engrossing.

While certainly more appealing to fans of bands like Blood of the Black Owl, Neun Welten, Tehni and Subaudition there are elements here that I could see appealing to the ‘hipster’ black metal set (mainly Agalloch, but also Wolves in the Throne Room, Fen, Altar of Plagues etc) as when Nechochwen do delve into more riff based realms (which isn’t very often), it has that organic, layered, earthen and largely instrumental feel that imbues mist filled valleys and waterfalls rather than craggy, frosty hostile mountains. These moments (i.e. “Allumhammochewn: The Crossing”, last moments of “Red Ocher”, “Charnel House”, “Confluence”, droning “Four Effigies”, somber doom of closer “Graves of Grandeur” (Reprise)”) amid the spoken words, acoustic, tribal beats, rattling and spirit calling rituals that make up a majority of the album, do keep the album within the realms of metal, but just barely.

Otherwise, atmospheric tracks like “Glissis Mikana”, “At Night I May Roam”, “The Eyes of the Mesingw” and “Graves of Grandeur” are hypnotic, soothing and captivating yet melancholic moments that capture the call of the wild and the grief and strong spirit of a culture wronged and virtually wiped out but not forgotten.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
March 22nd, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: Chris

    Very good album. I got it with the new BotBO and Celestiial, and it might be my favorite of the three. It’s a pleasant, fairly unique album


  2. Commented by: Infinite Death

    Nice find Erik. I’ve recently gotten into quite a bit of neofolk (Ulver, Empyrium, Tenhi, Vàli, October Falls, etc.) and the strong acoustic presence in Nechochwen really gives it a great feel. Thanks for introducing me to this group.


  3. Commented by: timshel

    Wait…Agalloch is considered hipster black metal now? Say it isn’t so!


  4. Commented by: Luke_22

    The new album is amazing. Never heard this band prior but Heart of Akaman ticks all the right boxes. Excellent black metsl with prog and folk flourishes. Killer stuff.


  5. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Agreed. I really need to get my review done


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