Two mini reviews: Selma – Phoenix and Human Nihility – Last Stage of Abuse 
Our favorite Ukrainian tertius_decimus is here to review two albums from Ukrainian bands Selma and Human Nihility.
With low feeling I’m submitting two bands from Ukraine. Two previous articles were dropped, forgotten and lost among many e-mail messages. Those were doomed to never see the light of the day but nevertheless, I still have strong intention to discover some goods for you from the land of sheer madness.
Meet Selma, a sludge band from magnificent city of Rivne (or if in case of Russian-speaking transliteration manner, Rovno). Ever wondered why saxophone has had its way to metal in too limited occasions? Why the sound of that native jazz instrument which IMO suits just perfectly in thick metal mix appears so rarely that in the year 2015 we still haven’t even talked about sax-driven metal as a tendency? I protest!
Listen to this sad, sorrowful material. To be honest, I don’t get that sludge thing, it’s just not my cup of tea. I found sludge to be too slow and boring, however in this particular case slightly faster tempo and traditional way of composing does the job of turning my mind against itself. It’s not just gritty and skronky as you, guys and girls, used to like, but also melodic and atmospheric — and that I love, big time. Like in case of post-rock band from Japan called “Mono”, the atmosphere comes from slow guitar line with clear sound. For soundscapes alongside with low note count per beat, you’ll hear Mono-specific tremolo technique. On top of it sits frail melodic tenor sax singing. The bottom of the mix is present by crumbly bass and dirty distortion. Riffs are simple, rhythmic, heavy and crushing, yet they tend to change the vibe from time to time, emphasizing otherworldly yet beautiful atmosphere. And then there’s dirty vocal as the icing on a cake.
Hope, this little review will break through and you’ll discover Selma and enjoy Phoenix as I did.
Second band in this roundup is Human Nihility.
As you all know, something went a little bit wonky somewhere at the border between Russia and Ukraine. “Something” is an actual understatement, because even inhabitants of the Central part of the country have almost no knowledge about inhabitants of the Eastern part, who did what, or what the hell is happening. And those Easterners do nothing to break cliches and stereotypes formed back at the very end of the USSR, a quarter of a century ago. Nobody has an interest in either side, political and economical arguments rise above all discussions leave the culture unnoticed. Can any of you name any significant cultural act from the Eastern Ukraine? Don’t blame yourselves if you can’t, those who live in Kyiv can’t do it either. Nor can inhabitants of Lviv. Donbass is a mysterious place, like a black hole. Everyone has heard of it but none have seen it. However, in the post-USSR space there’s a widespread rumor that the East is the heart of the metal scene. You may haven’t heard ’em but they have left significant footprint nevertheless: Acephala (brutal death), Balfor (black), Brilliant Coldness (technical death), Mental Demise (brutal death), Phantasmagory (psychedelic/progressive death), to name a few. Human Nihility certainly have everything to fall into the category of the most notable region-specific metal acts as well. Their relentless, dry and powerful death metal in the vein of Dying Fetus is nothing to fuck with. The band has no bandcamp page yet, but you can check them on their VK-page (Russian analogue of the Facebook) or download an archive from the file hosting.
Now, the most confusing part: the band was originated in Lugansk, it now suffers hard times to write new material, rehearse and put out new releases together. Making that 5-piece short EP was very hard for them. War with Russia has torn the band into pieces: guitar player and bassist choosed to stay in the city of origin, two another (originally from Debaltseve where the battles were the most severe) moved to Kharkiv and Lviv respectively. And the last guy (on the photo below), who even isn’t a member of the band officially, now resides near Kyiv. He, however, heavily influenced the band by writing the material and by sharing it with the band at rehearsals. You can hear his crushing riffs in the third song. Escaping from turmoil, he couldn’t take all his belongings, so he have left his guitar at home and thus have stopped writing music. I’ve heard his unusual riffs in person, trust me, it’s an awesome thing! I do hope he’ll find a way to buy another one and will become full-time member of the band. Also, he’s very talented painter. I wouldn’t tell a word about his impressionist’s works. Take a look.
Photo by me.