Nechochwen - Azimuths to the Otherworld
Bindrune Recordings
Dark Folk Ambient
14 songs ()
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

When my daughter was little we weren’t blessed with the best of sleepers. The way to put her to bed was to start rocking her in the chair in the dark room while listening to some quiet music. Two music pieces engrained in my memory from those times were Therion’s Vovin and Yeha-Noha, a collection of Native American tribal songs and chants. Speaking of Yeha-Noha I doubt I have ever found, before or after, the folk music so soothing. West Virginian Nechochwen, named after its mainman, are taking it many steps further with the Native American topic. On their second album Azimuths to the Otherworld, they explore how Adena and Hopewell people, who populated North American continent two thousand years ago, perceived the passage into the afterlife their deceased were undertaking.

Just like the first album called Algonkian Mythos (which apparently could have joined Yeha-Noha in our nursery if it was released ten years ago), Azimuths to the Otherworld relies heavily on classical guitar playing and lush atmospheres to tell its stories. Being completely incompetent in guitar playing, I have to admit that Nechochwen classical guitar captivates me completely and is the beauty incarnated in my inexperienced eyes. As it exists, the whole album could have been just this classical guitar weave, the way Nechochwen makes it sound, and I still would have been on cloud nine. Indeed, some compositions on Azimuths to the Otherworld is all classical guitar playing and not much else. Well, even more honestly, it is a large number of them, but I did not find this a wee bit tedious. True, I can’t tell whether At Night May I Roam uses flamenco or not, and there are some compositions I plain don’t understand (Confluence), but where I do, the soul inside of me is smiling. All hopes of dreams are on display in Hunting Among the Stars, Nechochwen music is some of the most honest and organic you will ever find. And whether the album can truly be called what we have come to know as “folk metal”, dark ambiance of Azimuths to the Otherworld stirs up the inner you and makes one feel the most comfortable and at peace. Flute in The Forgotten Death Ritual and some other native instruments in Graves of Grandeur through their gentle sounds and string picking give a glimpse of genuine purity of nature, with ancestors looking on at us scoldingly, sorry to see the havoc and destruction modernity has brought.

Unlike Algonkian Mythos, Azimuths to the Otherworld does provide displays of aggression. These take-offs are not common, they are few and far between, but they are made even more precious and colorful because of their scarcity. Heavy double bass climaxes after moody and pacifying beginnings in Red Ocher and the title track are absolutely invigorating, while the opening The Crossing is totally Agallochian with its diffuse riffs coming over blasting drums, with the voice (another rare occurrence on the album), tearing up the soul with merciless sharp talons beating constantly on the chest.

I honestly could care less how my Album of the Month pick for this album would be perceived. I fully realize many will not last through one listen demanding more concrete “action”. For me this album is brilliant. It is brutally honest in the way it wears the shroud of nature, of ancient history gone by, of the spirits long departed. It brings calm and comfort to the soul, two feelings the spirit must possess on its journey to its next existence.

Killing Songs :
The most of the album, except a few compositions, but The Crossing, Red Ocher and Azimuths to the Otherworld are my favorites
Alex quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Nechochwen that we have reviewed:
Nechochwen - Heart of Akamon reviewed by Alex and quoted 84 / 100
2 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 5 replies to this review. Last one on Sat Aug 25, 2012 3:27 pm
View and Post comments