Put' - The Songs of the Death
Antiq
Atmospheric Black Metal
10 songs (61'43")
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

For as many years as I have written for this site it seems that I have covered bands from seemingly every corner of the world. Rarely, however, I could say that I have visited the town the band hails from. Not the case with Russian Put’ (, which means Pathway or Road). I have been to Pskov and even spent my honeymoon in the area. Formerly a seat of a glorious Russian princedom, full of history, today Pskov is a quiet backwater town, hardly a hotbed of metal. And not just metal, but black metal to boot.

Put’ are indeed playing black metal and they are certainly doing it in their own special way. From the early frozen detuned notes of Epitaph, from hammers hitting thin steel sheets, from testing the limits of humanly compatible frequencies, the band stares into abyss of the their making, cold yet seething with weird fire. Epitaph is short, but very fitting for mood setting and as an opener. Epitaphs are posted on tombstones, and in the case of The Songs of the Death you could ask: who died? The answer would be – everything.

What follows is black metal which is certainly atmospheric, but in no way soothing and soft. There is some folksiness here and there (Prometheus), but it is not corny or happy. The Songs of the Death is quite raw, incredibly emotional, blasts when it needs to, but most importantly it demonstrates that beauty can actually be grim, no matter how paradoxically it can sound. Just listen to Above ancient casket ( Над гробом ветхим), when melody is allowed to gather strength slowly, gain prominence and, coupled with Russian language soul tearing screams by Andrey Kovalev, deliver emotional pinnacle. There is dejected slower doom element in Thus Sung Blizzard ( Так пела метель, or distorted schizophrenic waltz in In the White Palace ( В чертоге белом), where tempo switches from crawling to chaotic. Some tracks are almost nasty (Cult 2: Saturn), but the feeling of chilling melodicism is never lost and “the kingdom of frost and eternal darkness”, as In the White Palace invokes it, reigns supreme.

Not to save the best for last, Put’ description is absolutely incomplete without mention of how they use accordion. Not mocking as in Korpiklaani or thrashy as in Windir’s 1184, Put’ accordion is the essence of their soul. Not used in every song, and not even throughout the songs where it makes appearance, Put’ accordion is immediately evident and totally recognizable. Tuned a little lower, here accordion projects gloom and desperation (Thus Sung Blizzard, Cult 1: Fires from Faraway Hills), fills the sound envelope from top to bottom, and together with detuned string plucking and sounds of rain creates that apocalyptic atmosphere you will hardly forget (The Flowers of Evil, Цветы зла). Sometimes the band gives a masterclass in stretchy accordion applied over the top (Ashes of your Hair, Rachel Волос твоих пепел, Рахиль), but elsewhere it creates a feeling of bipolar disorder next to double bass rhythms (The Bones who were First Кости первых). And when all of a sudden backing vocals by she-angel appear, you realize that all this while accordion was this wounded soul searching for release.

Not a light album by any means, and not an easy album to comprehend on the first try, once The Songs of the Death arrived for me, somewhere around The Bones who were First on my second or third time through, I realized the quality and scope. Very glad Antiq found and released this gem from a couple of years ago.

(Songs titles translations are mine, hope I was able to capture the spirit).
Killing Songs :
Кости первых, Над гробом ветхим, Цветы зла, &#
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