Strict Regime Country

Die Entweihung

There's an urgency to heavy metal from the non-Western world that makes it feel that […]
February 14, 2023
Die Entweihung - Strict Regime Country album cover

There's an urgency to heavy metal from the non-Western world that makes it feel that much more important: there's not the luxury of falling back on a society flush with cash that's afforded to those in the States or Europe.  No parent wants their kids driving cross country in a van with three smelly twenty-somethings to play music, but at least that kind of opportunity isn't so far out of reach if you're born and raised in Delaware, for instance. Herr Entweiherr, the sole artistic vision behind eclectic dark metal band DIE ENTWEIHUNG, lived in Belarus until he was fifteen, at which time his family moved to Israel to escape the totalitarian rule of a newly independent Soviet state. Had this been pre-Internet, music as vital and outspoken as Entweiherr's would have wallowed in obscurity. But the people at Witches Brew heard something in his politically charged metal, and deemed it worthy of sharing with the world.  Along with vocal contributions from Alena Krakorova and Bilge "Serpent," DIE ENTWEIHUNG's "Strict Regime Country" is a seething indictment of the corruption inherent to power, and a varied, collage-like representation of modern- and not-so-modern- metal.

The album starts off promisingly enough, with old-school instrumental "Some Kind of Independence".  The production is raw, yet clear.  For some reason, I kept hearing '80s-era DESCENDENTS, of all bands, and some of the KYUSS-adjacent bands from the '90s like FU MANCHU and NEBULA. The song, like most of the songs on the album, is musically ambitious, with lots of melodic changes and tasteful leads.  Herr Entweiherr, no doubt, is a confident, talented musician whose influences vary widely, which I'll come to later. It was an interesting creative choice to lead off with an instrumental, particularly one that slyly throws a sarcastic allusion to independence as being "some kind" of independence, as if Entweiherr is trying to be polite before throwing the Molotov cocktail under the tracks of a dictator's tank.

Next song "One of Us" continues with the tight, angular, raw production before Bilge comes snarling in with "YOU! You've conquered the throne so fast!," and the song launches into a varied exploration of let '70s NWOBHM.  At seven minutes, the song explores a lot within the realm of heavy metal, but this also gives it a tendency to ramble. And the soaring, operatic vocals over the song's mid-section almost sound like someone got a hold of the Logic files and added a vocal track to it without Entweiherr knowing. If the album suffers, it's because it seems like the vocals can be quite abrasive at times, if not slightly atonal.  There's a cool, primal feel to the urgency of the lyrics, but the lo-fi effect of the vocals make some of these songs a chore to listen to.  This isn't to take away from the artistic energy he throws into the song-writing, as these are almost prog-like surveys of rock and roll, at times harkening back to EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, of all bands. But the bottom line is the 'oohs' and 'aahs' act to detract from the immediacy of the music, and the weight of the lyrics themselves.

The album is thankfully tempered with some precise, well thought out instrumental explorations on the same themes that Entweiherr visits lyrically.  "Their Own Tragic 9-11" starts off with a jazzy riff on the bass before settling down into a metallic groove that's punctuated with some melodic leads and simple keyboards that invoke the feeling of a tragedy manipulated.  The deaths of three thousand people from collapsed towers are used as the impetus to kill hundreds of thousands in pointless wars across the oceans.  Be it the imperialistic behemoth of the United States; the pseudo-apartheid state of Israel or the wannabe Soviet Union of Belarus, tragedies are often used by those in power to wreak even more violence.  That seems to be the main theme of "Strict Regime Country": the people in power suck, in every sense of the word.  And all the '9-11s' do is give these 'strict regime countries' more excuses to behave like assholes.

This is important music, and DIE ENTWEIHUNG should be encouraged to continue speaking their truth and educating their listeners on the political despair that envelopes much of our world. While it's not a perfect album, at least these guys are trying.  Heavy metal has always been the voice of the oppressed- a way for the powerless to have a few moments in which they can flex their musical muscles and speak for people in a way that bombs and power never do.

5 / 10









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"Strict Regime Country" Track-listing:

1. Some Kind of Independence
2. One of Us
3. Mayhem of the Doomed
4. Their Own Tragic 9-11
5. White Red White Genocide
6. Yesterday
7. Revolution of Broken Dreams
8. Strict Regime Country

Die Entweihung Lineup:

Herr Entweiherr - Everything

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