Nechochwen OtO

Nechochwen OtO
In a North American variation on the pagan metal tradition, West Virginia's Nechochwen find their pre-Christian inspirations in Native American rather than Viking or Celtic culture. Subtly tinged with these earthy influences, the band's third release begins where the last (Azimuths to the Otherworld) left off two years ago. But instead of remaining grounded in the quiet neofolk strains of acoustic guitar Oto develops in a much heavier direction. Nechochwen have described this new record (alternatively dubbed "Ancestor" in English) as a double EP, and its second side demonstrates the extreme metal end of their spectrum of influences. Even in the short instrumental opening, "Cultivation," there are moments of percussive intensity, but it's not until the final (and longest) two tracks that Oto breaks into powerful distorted riffs and gruff vocals as a counterpoint to classical guitar picking and Native chants. The transition works well, so that the record's closing tracks are also its most compelling. (Bindrune)