Nechochwen Azimuths to the Otherworld

I was introduced to Nechochwen as a live act: one man, his deft hands and his classical guitar. That encounter revealed only one dimension of the Nechochwen to be heard on Azimuths to the Otherworld. Following up several demos and one full-length album, this latest release adds a range of more conventionally "metal" sounds to Nechochwen's original dark acoustic palette. Interweaving folk and blackened metal, intricate melodies and electric distortion, earthy rhythms and aggressive beats, Azimuths to the Otherworld taps into artistic veins mined by Agalloch, Opeth and dozens of more obscure bands. But Nechochwen's twist offers a particularly North American take on folk metal, drawing on an aboriginal history and mythos (and sounds) as ancient as the Old World stories more common to the genre. The fusion isn't perfect, producing unsettling notes or odd transitions, but the uneasy moments add to the otherworldly atmosphere the album's title invokes. In the end, Azimuths to the Otherworld is hauntingly powerful, both while it's playing and even after it's over. (Bindrune)