Here we have 27 minutes of interesting black metal, with punk, progressive, and folk elements mixed in.
So, punky, folky, progressive black metal? It’s not a combination you get to hear very often, which is one of the reasons Neverending Winter make such an impression. Theirs is an atypical take on the genre, but not one that’s so avant-garde or unusual to make them sound alien or unapproachable. No, the vast majority of the material on Хиус is quite familiar, but it’s done in such a rich, vibrant way, one that incorporates the aforementioned aspects into its style seamlessly, that it sticks out from many ostensibly similar bands.
The music is well-recorded and extremely enjoyable. There’s a creative passion implied here that makes itself strongly known through the music, and it’s equally apparent that not only does this album show a band that have many good ideas, but that they also have the skill to execute them effectively too.
The songs are well-composed examples of black metal infected with different influences and allowed to bloom magnificently. There’s some impressive instrumentation and textured atmospherics on these songs, in addition to the furious aggression that you’d probably also expect. There’s a diversity of delivery here that’s enough to give every song its own identity, but not so much as to give the impression of a disjointed release.
In contrast to the rich and layered music, the vocals have a firm one-track mind; harsh screams are what we get, performed very well and suiting the music down to the ground. It’s a traditional approach that works nicely with both the orthodox aspects of the music as well as the more adventurous ones.
I can’t help but feel that Neverending Winter would make a much larger splash in the black metal pond if they were from the US, for example. Which is a real shame, as this is a superlative work, and I heavily advise you give this a listen.
Хиус is a ludicrously strong release.