MOTANKA

Label: Napalm Records ‎– NPR 858 DP (84058812277)

Producer: Gerrit Haasler

Mastering: Hauke Albrecht, DR6

Recorded and mixed at Blackstone Studios

 


Motanka

 

In Ukrainian symbolism the Motanka is a rag doll, an ancient craft that was used as an amulet to ward off illness and bad things from a person. It was also believed that the Motanka can mediate a connection between the living and the dead, and often the dolls were burned or drowned after they fulfilled their protective mission. The secrets of very old and forgotten rituals have found their way into this amazing debut album that, according to the band, should make people recall the memory of their past, to remember about the strength and will that every person has.

The music of Motanka denies any categorization - it gathers inspiration from many different genres and melts them into an exceptionally coherent work where the mystic atmosphere is the unifying element. The sonic mysticism of the Motanka owns a lot to the skillfully played hammered dulcimer that ushers most of the songs, as well as to vocals occasionally sung in Ukrainian that allow the melody to develop and lend Eastern flavour to the music. And yes, the mesmerizing artwork by Josh Graham of Suspended In Light is another part of the atmosphere.

It is the aforementioned cohesiveness that makes the album so impressive. In the age of songs when albums mean nothing the conceptual work of Motanka is an exceptional achievement. The songs flow freely one into another, all with similar mysterious mood yet each one outstanding as if they were chapters in a book. The whole is not unlike Pink Floyd albums, though in a different genre.

The bad thing is that dynamic compression brought the dynamics down to DR6, the good thing is that the music material exhibits variety in tempos and instrumentation so it never comes sounding flat or tiring. The production is crystalline and very modern, with an accent to the sparkling hammered dulcimer (wonderfully recorded) on the deep droning background. The drum kit, with its generous reverb and 80Hz lift, is heavy pounding, punchy and monumental in a sort of shamanic way. The guitars are crunchy and remain perfectly resolved as are the sounds in other layers. I would easily use this album at any hifi show to attract people to the room.

Who would expect that one of the best metal albums of last 12 months would arrive from Ukraine?

 

Tracklist:

1. Alatyr
2. Fire Burns
3. Air
4. Des’ U Horakh
5. Oy Ty Moya Zemle
6. Bosymy Nizhkamy
7. Voroh
8. Berehynya
9. Horizon
10. Pace Of The Space
11. Khreshchennya
12. What Are You Living For?
13. Verba
14. Kroda