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Friday, March 11, 2016
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One of the nicest guys I came in touch with in 2014 must be Canadian musician Myrtroen. ‘myrtroen’ is the Norse spelling of this guy’s great grandfather’s name when the latter moved over from Norway to North America (first the U.S., then Canada; Myrtroen still lives in Canada); we’re talking about more than a century ago – but this isn’t a etymologic essay, so let’s continue with the merits of the guy behind Avitas.

Myrtroen is active under the Kabexnuv-moniker, with some excellent releases in the past and, apparently, a new one coming up later this year (something I do look forward to for sure!). I would politely like to refer to two reviews I did for Kabexnuv in the recent past: Crypt Of The Black Solar Order, which was uploaded on January 11th 2016, and the split with Dol Guldur, entitled Wings Of Black Holocaust, posted on December 24th 2015. But Myrtroen’s main project is Avitas (the backwards spelling of ‘sativa’, aha!), an ‘Atheistic Libertarian Nationalistic and Anti-Abrahamic’ outfit. Pay attention, for there is quite a philosophic and well-thought idea behind this entity, instead of a brainless misanthropic and racist outlet – very important to keep this in mind, all right?! Anyway, I liked (and still like, evidently) the former releases of Avitas; check out the reviews for Northern Ghosts (see update July 24th 2014), Saga Of The Nationalist (which was put online on this site on August 20th 2014), or last year’s Freezing The Holy Land (updated on December 27th 2015). Now Avitas return with Pioneers, which gets released, once again, via Myrtroen’s own label Bud Metal Records (home to both his solo-projects).

Pioneers is an eight-tracker that lasts for fifty five minutes. It gets released in an edition of 300 copies, with distributing duties done in Europe via PHD. It was recorded in November 2015 at the guy’s Odin’s Den home studio. The cover artwork was created by Czech Moonroot Art and is supposed to be some kind of dedication to the very beginning of the former century, when Myrtroen’s great grandfather crossed the Atlantic in order to restart his life in the New World. Barren, cold, lonely, the cover painting says it all… Under The Canadian Sky With Memories From Norway…

As from the opening track Pioneers it’s clear (unclear might be more appropriate) that Avitas have no intentions to betray their roots. Thanks for that, Myrtroen! The song (and this goes for about all of them) brings an extremely heavy, pushing, pounding and, at the same time epic-melodic interpretation of timelessness. The structures surely are rooted within the greatness of the nineties, but the final result cannot be limited to ‘old school’ alone. It’s difficult to explain. No, there are no progressive or modernistic elements for sure, but the material just exceeds the limitations of the nineties’ scene. Avitas still come up with the necessary variation in speed, combining mainly fast, somewhat f*cked-up riff passages with a (limited) handful of massive decelerations, permanently focusing on a cohesive result. Vocally Myrtroen’s voice is quite recognizable, distinctive from the ‘average’ scream, and rather comparable to some East-European, hoarse, sore throat. Anyway, Magickal Rites From The Ancient Aryan Tomes, the second track, opens quite thrashing, with an energetic opening riff that sort of maintains an occult vibe (in an inexplicable way I cannot but think about some of the heavier excerpts by Absu). The track hammers and crushes, but here too a welcomes slowed-down passages works as perfect counterbalance to the assaulting speed-eruptions. Cool (or not) are the few spoken evocations, by the way. Satan Delights In The Darkness And Blackness, Which Are Opposite To The Whiteness And Light That Please Heaven (what’s in a name?) is much darker in atmosphere than both former pieces, and that’s just excellent. It just fits. This track is rather focusing on blasphemy, and that corresponds to both song title and sphere. Satan Delights … has a certain gorgorothian malignancy, but a surplus on top of the misanthropic nastiness is the semi-acoustic intermezzo towards the end of this lengthy composition, somehow flirting with the Apocalyptic Folk tradition. Islamic State Of Death I, to my opinion, the least attractive piece on the album – still strong and convincing, yet less ‘waw’ than the other creations. Especially when the next piece, Raincoast Necromancer (Brother XII), comes up, you’ll notice the difference in persuasion. Raincoast Necromancer is a mostly h(a)unting, eerie and suffocative piece, which includes some dissonant guitar rhythms and discordant melody lines (also the drum passages are quite contra-productive [to get defined in a positive way]). It was, by the way, inspired by a story by Edward A. Wilson, if I am not mistaken. With the next piece I was truly surprised, probably because I didn’t read the song titles when I listened to this album the first time. It’s a cover of Ministry’s N.W.O. (from their best album, Psalm 69), totally re-interpreted and deconstructed / reconstructed. Actually, it sounds quite cool because of the refreshing approach. The seventh song, Midnight Bonfires To The Lunar Eclipse, is the most Pagan-oriented one on Pioneers, I think. Especially the epic tremolo leads, the organic drum patterns, the acoustic guitars and the fierce outbursts, as well as the Nordic-sounding melodies, strengthen this statement. Personally I totally adore the vocal lines used on this song, being purely acid / sulphur / venom, and smartly mixed at the background.

Unfortunately I have one problem with this album, and that’s a remark that I did mention in several other reviews I did for Avitas: the production. I have a natural allergy against a clinically-polished sound quality, but the opposite might be disappointing too. I am afraid this goes for Pioneers too. The muddy mixture makes that one might miss some important details, and that surely is a pity. It minimalizes the whole…

But I do not want to end so dramatically negative, so if you can see through this (sad) element, you will experience the attraction called Pioneers! More investment in mix next time and we’ll have a winner, a conqueror! But the smart ones amongst you will notice that I talked about seven songs, and in my introduction on this specific album I mentioned this album as being an eight-tracker. Actually, though I do not know why, my edition has an eighth composition, being another version of Midnight Bonfires … Two things strike me: first of all the sound. This one has a very professional production quality, so I wonder why not everything could have been done this way. Okay, this specific one may be little too polished, but still I would go for a mixture of both possibilities. The second thing that strikes me is the execution: purely acoustic this time (acoustic guitars only, quite a difference with the earlier Avitas material in general, and no drums, electric guitars of voices). I wonder of every copy comes with this ‘bonus’ song, sounding like a drunk / stoned additional gig / gift (hurray!), yet once again I cannot but appreciate the intention behind it…

Hail! …and some Krieg too…