Hailing from Czechia, militant raw black metal act Chevallier Skrog released their latest full length towards the end of 2022. For those not familiar, Chevallier Skrog has released a handful of raw, hateful and incredibly lofi black metal in the vein of Bone Awl, Kūka’ilimoku, Wulkanaz, among others who lean more towards a punkish, raw style of black metal. Plenty of demos to go around, and if it wasn’t advertised as a full length record, I would’ve assumed this was yet another demo due to the raw sound.
Starting out, you’re greeting by the sounds of old medieval warfare and a bell tolling and soon the screech of a guitar rings through, and what you get I found rather disappointing. This guitars on this first track are bare-bones. A lot of these types of bands use ‘primitive’ as a positive descriptor, but in this case its rather too primitive. No effects on the guitar, a very simple few riffs being repeated over and over again, as an amateurish drumming happens in the background. This whole track lacks any support of a bass what so ever and kinda throws the listening experience off. The vocals are somewhat appealing if they were put in a different context. Harsh screeches with a lofi sound that isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but the instrumentals on this track I just found rather unbearable. Which is a shame as the rest of the album doesn’t follow the same pattern. On the second track, the guitars sound more full, there’s an actual bass which gives the sound its weight. The writing and structure its self is still rather primitive and at times kind of boring. It sorta drones on and on and doesn’t show any sign of changing, if only for a little bit. Its the second half of the album where it begins to shine. The approach is a lot more aggressive, while still keeping that primitive feel and the riffs change pace every once and while and stays somewhat interesting. There are some cool aesthetic choices with different voice recordings spliced into the track speaking what I could only assume be either Czech or Russian. Either way, its a nice touch that the first two tracks lacked.
This is a very off putting release, and this band as a whole is rather strange but I still found my self weirdly drawn into the somewhat medieval yet modern militant aesthetic they were going for. The previous releases I let slide in terms of quality as most of them were meant to be played on cassettes and enjoyed in one sitting. Plenty of interesting sounds though with muddy, raw riffs and more creative songwriting. One of my personal favorites from this group is the release Peasant Rebellion with its aggressive attack on the vocals, primitive yet catchy riffs, and a great wall of sound that doesn’t get tiring. While I do appreciate what they were trying to do with this release, I felt as though they kinda dropped the ball in terms of the sound. While less can be good, sometimes you do need at least somewhat of a foundation for you to build upon, rather than sloppily slapping a bunch of demo tracks together and calling it an album.
While, I didn’t personally like this release all too much, the last two tracks I definetly found enjoyable and made me delve a bit deeper into the Chevallier Skrog and what other sounds they had to offer. And what I found was interesting and totally itches that Kūka’ilimoku sound that has become incredibly popular within the underground over the past few years. Give this a listen, you might like this better than I do if you’re a fan of that raw, primitive demo sound of black metal.