Jarost Marksa - We the People
Bellvm Gerite
Black Metal
3 songs (21:31)
Release year: 2008
Myspace, Bellvm Gerite
Reviewed by Charles
Archive review
Of all the things that had to happen in black metal, this will be the most divisive. For some it will be high time that a fluttering red flag was raised over the Nietzschean pessimism of black metal, a scarlet beacon fluttering proudly in the breeze. For others, it will be an exercise in tiresome point-missing, an unwelcome enlightenment torch winding naively through a Hate(ful) Forest that is purposefully and lovingly kept as dank and un-illuminated as possible…

Or if you want to ditch the unnecessarily apocalyptic tone, let’s just say this: Jarost Marksa (literally, “The Wrath of Marx”) would herald a judgement day for black metal if anybody had ever actually heard them. As very few people have, the We the People EP remains a thrilling curiosity, the obscure product of a meeting in a Moscow anarchist commune between three Russians and a disillusioned Frenchman.

Lest it be said that this review is pure provocation, I hasten to stress that the music here is worth hearing. As befits a band that glories in the bloody overthrow of any and all leadership, this is so anarchically raw as to almost cross the line into unsullied noise on occasion. Musically, at least, We the People’s defining statement is made within the ten minute running time of the monstrous Under the Red Banner, by far the best track here. It’s mournfully slow opening, a harmonised lead guitar lamentation reminiscent of Opeth’s The Night and the Silent Water, is repeatedly destabilised by arbitrary drum accelerations, heralding the unpredictable, sprawling black epic it breathlessly accelerates into after fifty seconds. It is a schizophrenic work, gathering whirlwind speeds and death-defying intensity through the blistering drumming and rabid, zigzagging riffs, in between repeated collapses into grimly tuneful interludes. It is as harrowing an epic as you could ever wish to hear in black metal, sustained by the energy of a maniacal life-giving faith every bit as deep as Behexen’s Satanic devotion. (“Comrades… the victory of communism will heal all our wounds”)

As musical drama, then, the other two tracks here have a lot to live up to and they are only partly successful. Empires Shall Fall is just as aggressive, revelling in its violent speeds that threaten to career off their rails and spiral uncontrollably into a gleeful noise bloodbath, like a revolutionary movement embracing its degeneration into head-severing mayhem. A shame, then, that the effect is constantly undermined by the frog-like vocals which manage to strip the rabble-rousing lyrics of their intensity and resonance.

Finally, a curiosity: a reworking of the Soviet World War Two anthem, The Sacred War. A restrained, militaristic drum roll is gradually challenged by fading-in double-kick drumming. The pomp and ceremony of the plodding, imperious harmonised guitar melody sounds like a red subversion of the Bernstein references in Metallica’s Don’t Tread on Me. And the multitudinous voices of the Red Army Choir are replaced by a hoarse lone black metaller’s Russian language barking. One of the strangest black metal songs I’ve ever heard, one of the most unusual records. Whatever conclusions you may draw from We the People, this EP is unique.

Killing Songs :
Under the Red Banner
Charles quoted no quote
4 readers voted
Your quote was: 100.
Change your vote

There are 37 replies to this review. Last one on Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:55 am
View and Post comments