Leshak - Chertovorot

Leshak are a folk thrash band from Russia. Chertovorot is their debut album, and they almost got everything right with it. It has an excellent folk influence from the flutes and hits hard and heavy with the metal side... but it doesn't ring as thrash. With the growling vocals, chunky riffs, and pure aggression of the band, Leshak comes off more as folk death metal. It's nothing to ruin the band, though, as they still sound pretty good. However, there's a few naunces that just doesn't make the album as good as it could have been.

After the short folk instrumental, "Sunrise," the album becomes a chaotic blend of death metal and folk music with "Firtree's Bark." The guitars are speeding with the drums and the vocals are dark and evil, like that of Immolation. The flutes are a nice addition, especially during the momentary breaks of the guitars. But, they seem to keep playing the same notes over and over. It gets boring after a while. "The Paths Of Leshak" isn't so chunky or fast and instead features some melodic, catchy riffs mixed with the death vocals, but the folk elements are almost all but gone. There's some strange chanting backing vocals near the end of the song, but they clash more with the harsh vocals rather than make them sound better. "Chertovorot" brings the flutes back in, but again, they are reptetitive, and the death metal drowns it all out, especially when it is in overdrive. At times it feels like the band is torn between to two genres, and it would be better if they just picked one and stuck with it. If they wanted to blend folk and metal they should have given even weight throughout the track. They might have done it with "Firtree," but they didn't do it here.

"Shulikun's Dance" is the opposite of "Sunrise." It is also and instrumental, but much heavier and features no folk elements. However, it is as close to thrash as one is going to get, and includes a beginning that sounds original and different from the rest of the tracks due to a lead-in to the chugging rather than just blasting off right then and there. The riffs are repetitive but very catchy and the pace is not too fast, or slow. It's perfect, and relaxing compared to the speed of the other tracks. "Dark Forests..." breaks the spell of monotony from the album and injects some folk melodies back in, as well as some picked strings rather than just chord after chords. This gives the track a very progressive feeling and adds a ton to atmosphere, even when the death metal vocals are involved. The "Outro" is very slow and moody- pure folk influenced- and emphasizes the atmosphere the album tries to convey. Finally, "Was Wollen Wir Trinken" makes a final attempt of merging death metal with folk, and actually works because for once the flute sections don't just repeat themselves at the same pace over and over, and nor does the metal music parts. This would have been the best track on the album for it's great blend of heavy guitars that go at a mid pace along with the flutes that mix in perfectly... if it just didn't stop and leave the listener hanging instantly after a short while.

Time is the final issue with the album. It's short... less than half an hour. WAY too short to be considered a full length album. If this was an EP or a demo, then that would make it much more respectable. But, it's like a ride that ended too soon after waiting an hour in line. Leshak have got the melodies down and their formula is great... they just have to extend it a bit more to keep the attention of the listener. Shoot an album by way too quickly and it is likely to be missed altogether.

  1. At Sundawn (Intro)
  2. Firtree's Bark
  3. By The Paths Of Leshak
  4. Chertovorot
  5. Shulikun's Dance
  6. Dark Forests Are From The Land Up To Sky
  7. Sunset (Outro)
  8. Was Wollen Wir Trinken

Stygian Crypt Productions
Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Sep 5, 2010

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