The Sonic Temple 2024

No Relief

At the onset of gloom, young Ukrainian ensemble refuse to bid farewell to hope.

There’s a great deal of artificiality in heavy music’s anger and anguish but, with a war raging in their country, these Kievans have all the rights to emote in, perhaps, exaggerated but, ultimately, sincere manner, and the duo’s debut EP demonstrates a certain stylistic variety anyway. It may seem easy to latch onto the straightforwardness of “Fury” – the platter’s penultimate track, a mini-epic whose scope is a great showcase of the interplay between Aleks Feelgood’s bass and Lee White’s guitar – yet, with some of the material on display dating to the happier times before Russian invasion, the two friends find strength in simpler attitudes than the day dictates. And so, for every stygian riff, they locate an infectious tune to bring light in the black and oppose the deceptive doom of the record’s title.

Of course, “No Relief” should not be taken literally, as tsunami waves and motorik groove of half-hysterical opener “Не люблю котів” (“I Don’t Like Cats”) doesn’t call for intolerance towards felines, offering instead a folk-laced familial drama, sung by Feelgood in Ukrainian, while the English lyrics of the almost danceable “I.O.” rally against information overload by weaving electronica into its catchy, cosmic passages. However, the sky-wide, slightly funky “Не варто” (“Not Worth It”) and the romantic “Не дивись униз” (“Don’t Look Down”) rock on a universal level and merges privately local matters with commonly global ones. As a result, this bout of existential angst isn’t difficult to relate to, and one cannot ask for a better beginning for a band destined to go far in the time of peace too.


April 3, 2024

Category(s): Reviews

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