We are told that Setoml was the ancient name of a river that flowed into the Pochayna River in Kyiv city, Ukraine. Mentioned in chronicles that date back to the 11th and 12th centuries, it was the resting place of parts of an army of the Turkic Pechenegs who were defeated in 1036 by Yaroslav The Wise and drowned beneath its waters.
Setoml is also the name chosen by a new two-man Ukrainian melodic black metal band, formed by Semenenko Anton (known as one-man project Luna) and Krivoviaz Serge (founder, vocalist, guitarist of I Miss My Death). In Setoml, Anton is the composer of all songs and performer of all instruments, while Serge is the lyricist/vocalist. Their debut album Reincarnation (“Перевтілення”) will be co-released on April 24th by Satanath Records (Russia) and Kryrart Records (Germany).
The song we’re presenting today, “The Shadows Path (Шлях тiней)“, is the track that closes the album. And like all the other tracks, it explores the reincarnation of the soul after death, the symbol of which is the night butterfly.
Produced in a way that conveys clarity of sound, and integrating ingredients of doom and death metal, the song is an evolving, instrumentally varying, and persistently engrossing piece of music that grows increasingly more intense but is shadowed from the beginning by emotionally dark moods — a shadow that never vanishes.
In its earliest movement, Setoml combine heavy, jolting riffs and rhythms with eerie shimmering melodic tones, hammering double-bass, and wretched howls and screams, interspersed with bursts of blasting percussion and raking chords. That provides a momentous yet chilling introduction, and as the song proceeds, dark and doomy arpeggios and shivering tremolo’d chords, as well as booming toms and accents of moody melody, channel an increasingly desperate feeling.
The vocals remain a furious, growling and howling presence as the song moves among these changing phases of gloom and misery. Ultimately, the song becomes more frantic and despairing as it moves toward a crescendo with layered guitar frenzies that shimmer, soar, and boil like ants on fire.
Setoml explain that almost all nations of the world represent the butterfly as a symbol of immortality. “According to beliefs, the spirit of the deceased person reincarnates in these night creatures and wanders endless spaces, as if in the other world…” As mentioned, all eight tracks on Reincarnation focus on ideas about the reincarnation of the soul after death.
Screen of review.
Setoml are a band from Ukraine that plays a very melodic form of black metal and this is a review of their 2020 album "Reincarnation" which was released as a joint effort between Satanath and Kryrart Records.
A very dark, heavy and melodic sound starts off the album while the vocals are mostly grim yet high pitched sounding black metal screams. During the faster sections of the songs a great amount of tremolo picking and blast beats can be heard which also gives the music more of a raw feeling.
Throughout the recording you can also hear a decent mixture of slow, mid paced and fast parts while synths are also added into certain sections of the recording. When guitar solos and leads are utilized they are also done in a very melodic style along with the music also showing an influence of the Swedish style.
A couple of the tracks are also very long and epic in length along with some elements of melodic death metal also being utilized at times as well as some of the slower riffing also adding in touches of doom metal and the vocals also get very deep sounding in some parts of the recording and as the album progresses a brief use of clean singing can also be heard. The production sounds very professional while the lyrics cover dark and metaphysical themes.
In my opinion Setoml are a very great sounding melodic black metal band and if you are a fan of this musical genre, you should check out this album.
Before I start this review, a quick tip of the hat to Satanath Records and Aleksey there who sends us loads through for review. The label is based in Russia, and focuses predominantly on the heavier end of the metal scale. As ever, we’re inundated with albums and EPs to throw words at, but today I dug into the Satanath folder and plucked out a couple for a quick listen. As ever when I try out something he’s sent me, I was pleasantly surprised!
Setoml are a two-piece from Ukraine and billed as “melodic black” which caught my eye. Since the term “melodeath” became commonplace I’ve found loads of bands that I like, with the “melodic” side often adding a touch more musicality to more brutal genres. While I do enjoy a bit of old-fashioned abrasive face-ripping at times, I’m an old-school metaller at heart and softly rounding the edges often just makes the music that bit more enjoyable for me. Such is definitely the case with Reincarnation.
Within seconds of “Flames” starting up, I knew I was going to like this album. The downtuned, creepy guitars heralded bad things… but in a nice way. They ring out like bells on this opening riff, and the drums – an important feature of black metal – ride high in the mix, too. Once the vocals start up, you can instantly tell this isn’t a garage-produced black metal album, there’s a lot of work being put in here. The tempo kicks in after a while and there’s no denying that this is as black as it needs to be to qualify for the genre, but the slower sections are clean and add to the track rather than break it up or disjoint it.
With that introduction to the band and the album out of the way, I ploughed through the rest of the songs and I’m glad to report that the opener doesn’t use up all the tricks and leave you wondering where the ideas went. “In the Cold Eyes” is as brutal as any other black metal track, “By the Dark Lake” is more brooding and haunting with discordant guitars throughout, that eerie off-kilter sound that extreme bands often employ. Closer “The Shadows Path” has one of the best intro riffs I’ve heard in a long time and wouldn’t be out of place on an Ex Deo album – it sounds pompous and grand, like a mighty marching army. A great way to round off an album that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I’ve said it before, but one of the things I like about “metal” is that the term encompases so many wild and varied sounds – even more if you grab “rock” and buddy them up. Setoml have introduced me to another little niche in this huge slab of sounds that we all live for.