Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Obscure Bands: Nechochwen

I'm going to talk about another obscure band today: Nechochwen.

Nechochwen is a one-man pagan metal band from West Virginia. That one man is Aaron Carey, a classical guitar player and instructor. Apparently Nechochwen is "a Lenni-Lenape Indian name given to him long ago." (Given by whom? And why? I have no idea.) Black metal has proven to be a perfect blend with all manner of folk music throughout the world, and Nechochwen blends it with Native American music as well as classical guitar and piano.

Azimuths to the Otherworld (2010) is the latest release by the band. The album tries to fool you by starting off with the amazing (and very much metal) "Allumhammochwen: The Crossing". But, like a lot of pagan metal (Negură Bunget comes to mind), very little of the album is actually metal. The Native American influence is most obvious on flute-powered "The Forgotten Death Ritual" or native drumming "The Eyes of the Mesingw", and the album tends toward pretty guitar music most of the time. About half of it could be the kind of classical guitar CD you might find in Target's Lifescapes collection (in other words, highly competent but somewhat lacking in personality).

But when black metal is incorporated into the music, it's very satisfying. This is largely because he doesn't allow himself to be constrained by black metal, but instead moves it into more adventurous territory. On the other hand, he does tend to follow technical rules of music too closely (no atonality here), but he's breaking enough expectations I can forgive that. Aside from the album opener, other highlights include the title track, "Red Ocher", and closer "Graves of Grandeur (Reprise)".

(It gets metal about 3:40.)

In all, it's a worthwhile listen for fans of pagan metal or anyone curious about the idea of Native American-inflected, classical guitar-oriented black metal. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.


  1. Interesting. I have wondered what Native American pagan black metal would sound like. Seriously. Now, hopefully someone will come out with something a little more metal, and then we're good.

  2. Black metal is the cranberry juice of metal genres. They mix it with everything.

    I was thinking a lot lately about how black metal has been combined with local folk music all over the world, so everyone has their own unique brand of it. The thought has stuck with me ever since I read Terrorizer's review of Winterfylleth's latest. They gushed over how British it is. So I started wondering what my own style of folk music would be. I don't identify with Native American music at all (the music of my homeland), and I also don't identify with traditional German music (the music of my ancestral homeland).

    I thought the only other option is country/western, and then I started to think about how blackened country/metal would sound. Pretty damned bad-ass, I bet. I tried to find something like that on Metal Archives, but nothing worthwhile shows up when you search for country in the genre field.

  3. I identify with traditional Irish music (I'm also German, Scottish, French, and English, but Irish music is better). Luckily, there are already several bands combining metal with Irish music. Cruachan, Primordial, Waylander, The Lord Weird Slough Feg, and Eluveitie are just a few.