Abaddon magazine

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Monday, December 5, 2022

Review: Пустош – Сутон

Label: Self released

Date: October 30th, 2021

Pardon the Cyrillic up there. The band opted to use it and so must I. To make things easier on you, the band’s name translates to “wasteland”. As for the album’s title, you might just be able to read it, but you would be doing it wrong. It translates to “dusk”.

If I manage to convince you to test out “Сутон” you can do so on the link below this review. For any further information or band contact, you can try typing “pustos” in your browser, as it is the way you would most likely write the name.

Still, whatever trouble you have with the Cyrillic lettering, it is nothing compared to what I have to endure trying to describe this record. Come to think of it, it is not a matter of putting the correct genre next to Пустош’s name. That one is somewhat clear to me. It’s the fact that the album sounds a bit weird and I’m having trouble putting my finger on the reason why.

I’ll start at the beginning. Пустош is a young trio from Serbia, debuting with a full length record. Self-released in digital form only, so far. They are formally declared as a black metal act. Melodic or atmospheric, as I found online. Both are correct, but not complete descriptions.

For instance, one can clearly hear later era Bathory influences. That Viking or pagan touch is apparent right from the start and obviously present whenever Пустош goes for a slower tempo. Bathory on the northern side of stuff, however I seem to think about Astrofaes or Drudkh most often while listening to the record. Especially with the combination of atmosphere and primal black metal force.

Black metal, as performed by Пустош, dwells in its second wave cocoon. But it is constantly transforming from that old school, pretty minimalistic form, into that epic and atmospheric domain. These two segments stand apart of each other, making for a dual impact instead of a single lifeform.

That’s not an issue here, since the trio manages a decent flow from one part into another. But I mentioned something weird above, haven’t I? Here it is. I keep hearing a not-so-subtle stoner doom condiment. I believe this is not quite intended. What’s more, I think I can pinpoint the trouble to the highly bass oriented production. This way the record sounds very dry. That particularly comes into play in the mentioned slow intervals. I guess the band went for that unmistakable “Hammerheart” feel, but missed.

Anyway, technical details aside, Пустош presented seven songs. Long ones, usually. Two intermezzos are going over four minutes and the rest is averaging about six and a half minutes. With that in mind and the fact that this is the debut material looming over our heads, things might seem suspicious. Not a lot of bands can pull a lot of quality on the first take, particularly with a genre that needs a meticulous skill in composition.

These Serbian youngsters didn’t do it. They do have skills. Apparently, their ears are filled to the brim with albums whose influences are heard here. And I’m certain they have a goal in sight. Yet, they need growing up. A whole lot of it. Perhaps debuting with a full album was not such a good idea. Some trial and error might have helped. A demo or two. An EP, perhaps, to form a clearer picture of the band’s capabilities.

Still, “Сутон” is far from a bad material. As a debut, it is executed well. It shows an ambition and a fresh perspective in front of the band. Пустош deserves a chance and I will definitely try the next recording, too.