Kashgar – Kashgar

True Kyrgyz black metal. It would be very difficult to come up with a better band slogan than that. Kashgar is one of extremely few bands, and probably the only death/black metal band, hailing from the former U.S.S.R. republic of Kyrgyzstan. They don’t use the aforementioned slogan, but they really could. This their self-titled debut was available digitally for about a year, before being reissued on CD by Belarusian Satanath record’s sublabel Symbol of Domination just recently. So, what’s to expect here?

Lovers of slightly older Greek black metal will be pleased to know that the album has been mastered by Achilleas Kalantzis of Varathron. This one choice has given the album a slight edge, which perhaps would have been missing otherwise. In any case it makes sense, since the often slow, pulsing style of black/death metal Kashgar plays really has quite a lot in common with Greek heroes like Thou Art Lord and indeed also Varathron. The tempo goes up at times, and at those times the Norwegian riffs also show up (“Tyan Shan – Batyr” is like a mix of slow Thou Art Lord with selected Transilvanian Hunger riffs).

The album offers more than a mere blend of Western and Central European black metal variations. Folk elements, pure death metal riffing and more than the odd nod to classic thrash metal a’la Kreator add additional gallons of flair to Kashgar, as does the rather exciting lyrical and conceptual framework. While Western black metal bands more often than not choose one or a couple of a few standard concepts – satanism, nihilism, Norse paganism, depression and/or the occasional brown-tinged idea – Kashgar draws heavily on the history and customs of Central Asia. Shamanism, Tengrism, folklore and a number of other topics show up. While digging where you stand in a cultural and spiritual sense is not exactly a unique idea for a black metal band, it becomes very much just that when you’re virtually the only extreme metal band standing there for hundreds of miles in each direction.

Kashgar’s Kashgar is available from the band or from Symbol of Domination, on digital download or CD, and unless you already have too many Kyrgyz death/black bands in your collection, Archaic Triad can only recommend you go get it before its gone.

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