If you listened to Semargl’s first album Attack on God through 2014’s Killer Dance and 2015’s Held single, you’d swear you’d be hearing a completely different band. Well, you’d be correct for the most part. While Semargl’s early material is what most might consider true black metal, their more recent years found themselves adopting the”satanic pop metal” label and even incorporating dance music.
However, since Semargl’s first album in 2005, the one guy who has remained constant is none other than Rutarp. In 2013 he briefly stepped away from Semargl to release his solo album, True Primitive through Noizr Productions.
Semargl is probably one of those bands that you either love or you hate depending on whether you are a black metal purist or a “pop metal” or dance music fan. Regardless of which side of the proverbial fence you are on, if you’ve Seen Rutarp and/or Semargl, you cannot forget nor ignore.
But given Semargl’s real diversity, what does Rutarp view as true and primitive? Maybe that’s part of the mystique that Rutarp creates.
True Primitive isn’t black metal. It isn’t industrial. It’s nowhere within miles of dance music. Rutarp’s guitar sound does sound similar to the “primitive” or raw black metal styles of the so called “second wave” of black metal. Yes, he also uses electronic/industrial elements. But True Primitive is a voice all his own. What Rutarp does is create a really cool atmosphere especially with the combination of clean vs. raw fuzzy guitar tones and the crazy phase-shifted vocal effects. While the vocal effects often make the words inaudible, it does remind me of the age-old complaint of people saying they can’t understand what the singer is saying. Yeah… and? It’s not always about what you hear. It’s about the effect and its input in the over-all atmosphere of the composition.
“Remember (Preludium I)” is a perfect example of this. Rutarp creates such a cool mood between the guitar tones & notes. Track 9, “Manifesto” is another example. In the case of “Manifesto,” Rutarp even makes use of a horn sound. But somehow it works and the track closes off the album very well.
Rutarp is a guy who needs to make no apologies for what he does nor the history he has made with Semargl. Nevertheless, for a moment just put away the corpse paint, the spikes, symbols and everything else. At the end of the day, you have a Ukrainian man who knows how to get into a studio create a bloody cool atmosphere….and a real original one at that. Grab a bottle of Obolon, a plate full of Kovbasa and enjoy it for what it is.