Getting to watch Nechochwen unfurl over the past 15 years has truly been a delight. Initially songwriter Aaron “Nechohwen” Carey’s solo acoustic/folk project, it was Nechochwen’s sudden pivot into the black metal universe with 2010s Azimuths to the Otherworld which got the project the recognition it truly deserved. Now joined by Andrew “Pohonasin” D’Cagna, Nechochwen’s approach to local lore through delicate folk passages and empowered, mythical black metal left a mark on the American scene before going into a relative slumber following 2015’s Heart of Akamon. Though the band would release splits with Sweden’s Bhleg and Bindrune Recordings labelmates Panopticon, the reality of a Nechochwen full-length follow up seemed to be pushed to a further horizon. Now, after a seven year wait, Carey and D’Cagna return to the fold with the powerful Kanawha Black.
Streaming below ahead of Kanawha Black‘s May 13 release, album closer “Across the Divide” demonstrates Nechochwen’s two halves as a unified idea rather than the fragmented folk-then-metal-then-folk execution many other folky black metal bands tend to take. Opening with a rhythmic and expressive unplugged exposition, it’s the mid-paced, sung voice-led metal sections which give this song a tragic and dynamic character. Moving through Hellenic-esque black metal might and surprisingly progressive passages, the guitar heroics found on this particular song are no stranger to master guitarist Carey, whose guitar solo work has been a highlight of the metal-oriented Nechochwen discography. As a whole, Kanawha Black is Nechochwen’s masterwork–their most refined and forceful vision to date.
Pre-orders for a gatefold vinyl edition (with a listening CD if you’re too afraid to spin your copy, you flipper scum!) are open now.
From the artist:
“Across the Divide” is, like several other songs in our catalog, about wandering and the spirit of the journey. Whether a figurative quest in life or a long-term trek in the wilderness, the struggles encountered can seem insurmountable but ultimately bring growth and confidence. Reaching the divide between beginning a challenge and seeing its completion gives strength and clarity. We see this as applicable in our earthly experiences and perhaps it applies also to the divide between life and what comes after.