Snogard
Moral Presence, Corrupt Misdeeds EP

I grabbed this EP (originally self released digital last year) from North Carolina’s duo Snogard (Dragons spelled backwards apparently?), due to the cover art, with looks like a cross between Ian Miller artwork, and something I would have drawn on my 7th grade notebooks, as well as EP themes that explore different protagonists/antagonists in fantasy, mythology, literature and lore. Oh and the promo threw in a Bal-Sagoth, Caladan Brood, and Emperor references…

The 5 songs (all written and recorded in 4 months during Covid seclusion) are laid out in a sort of ‘vs.’ format; you get “Belmont:Nosferatu” (from the Castlevania video games/cartoons), “Ægidius:Chrysophylax” (JRR Tolkien), “Thra:Skeksis” (Dark Crystal movie), “Odysseus:Polyphemus” (from Homer’s Odyssey) and finally, “Thlayli:Woundwort” from Richard Harris/Watership Down). And they are littered with spoken words and story telling parts.

It’s a very cool concept, and while the music doesn’t quite match the ambition and depth of the concept, its solid, if raw, second wave symphonic black metal. I’m reminded of Old Man Child’s debut, or early Satyricon, and only a few times, very raw demo era Bal-Sagoth. 

In fact, it starts pretty badly with the grumbled narration that start “Belmont:Nosferatu”, but eventually the song kicks in for real, and I get a heavy, rawer “Dreaming of Atlantean Spires” vibe (From Bal-Sagoth‘s debut, A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria). It even includes a brief moment of the iconic ‘Dracula’ organ theme, (Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue”).

Things get better from there on with “Ægidius:Chrysophylax” and its nice fadeout, “Thra:Skeksis” with a more symphonic, melodic canter and some dramatic hellenic choirs for “Odysseus:Polyphemus” (one of my favorite childhood stories). Closer “Thlayli:Woundwort” ( I was one of many English children scarred by General Woundwort in the Watership Down movie) ends the EP on  a solid, atmospheric up tick, and I hope the duo can further develop their primal black metal sound a little more to match the cool concepts they are delivering.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 20th, 2021

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