Kurhan was founded back in 2004, and since then has remained fairly silent in lieu of Studio time. Initially started as a four piece that included vocalist D. Stotko, guitarist J. Ciwi?, bassist K. Mazur (Rot, ex-Blasphemous), and drummer Namtar (FDS, Night of the World), this line-up only recorded two demos together. 2009 saw the first, titled Szlam, followed two years later by Cel. In 2012, D. Stotko left the group, and K. Mazur took over his duties. Armed now as a three piece, it took a little time before the group would enter Studio Czy?ciec in Poland to record their long overdue debut full-length, G?ód, which is being handled by Arachnophobia Records for an early March 2015 release. But is it something worth taking note of, or was the wait simply not worth it?

While grounded largely in the Black Metal realm, G?ód treads between various genre's spanning from Crossover to Grindcore, all with a decent layer of hostility and rebellion. "Porzadek" introduces this with some intricate blackened riffs and steady drums that hammer directly into your skull with a hulking Death Metal attitude. There's also a hint of Slayer inspiration by the two-and-a-half minute mark as the guitars unleash a solid commanding Thrash Metal solo that nicely fits the increasingly punishing performance. The use of harsher shouting instead of the traditional guttural adds a little extra bite to the mix, but it doesn't quite capture the emotion behind the music.

There is a little extra range in that department on "G?ód". It's one of the faster pieces that can sound truly nightmarish and depressing thanks to the guitars, but this is really the only time the vocals truly stand out on the release. It's alright though, as much of the recording is all about the music and the hostility it evokes, even when catering more to traditional Thrash Metal. "?wiat?o?? wiekuista" can come off a little on the thin side when focusing more on two-step and Crossover riffs. Other than that, it's your standard performance for the genre, but one that still manages to hit the listener pretty hard.

Finally there are the tracks that focus more on blasts than anything else, which are where the band seems to excel. "Katedra" starts off with some eerie hooks early on, but not even forty-five seconds in you're met with tight intensity all around. "Czas" has a fairly stable Black Metal foundation that caters itself more towards the modern generation of the style, channelling groups like Marduk without really losing some of the melodic elements that stand out. It's aggressive for the most part, incorporating a bit of Death Metal towards the end with some commanding grooves that, while separated by a brief gap, seem to act as a segway between it and "Zimny blast" with its Punk fuelled Grindcore rebellion. It isn't all that unique, but, again, it's the melodic traits that ultimately stand out. The slightly sharpened distortion, backed by a bulky bass guitar presence, works very well with the infectious drumming and gristled shouting that has a little extra harmonization at work. The transitions between the various styles are also handled quite well, moving from this modern Darkthrone-esque approach into traditional second wave grooves that carry a glorious Norse atmosphere.

While G?ód isn't exactly the most refined or unique contribution to the Metal world, it's definitely pissed off enough to take notice of. Kurhan still seem to be finding themselves, unsure on the direction they want to go despite having a consistent foundation in mind to work from. It's also impossible to ignore the skill of each musician involved in this project, showcasing a wide array of technical prowess with the ability to set specific moods or attitudes with the greatest of ease. Kurhan definitely have the potential to unleash something both violent and inspiring in the near future, and, while G?ód isn't quite up to that level yet, it still stands as an album worth checking out.

Review originally posted at Apoch's Metal Review.