Bizarrely, avant-garde black metal meets New School Trap, or so the description goes. I had to look up Trap, and having done so I now understand it’s a form of hip hop. I didn’t know the band either, and it transpires that Mora Prokaza are from Belarus, and this is their third album release. They are now the third Belarussian band I’ve heard of, the other two being Ljosazabojstwa and Serdce. I couldn’t imagine that Mora Prokaza might sound like either of them.

Well it’s certainly strange. Bombastic, dark symphonic music is presented in the form of a military march. The lyrics are gurgled out in Dani Filth cat strangling style. This is “WIMG”. Quiet sinister tones signal in “I’m Not Yours”. The vocals seem designed to frighten. Squealing, rasping, just horrible in a deliberate sort of way, they are accompanied by a sullen riff. Stranger and stranger. An accordion and flute play in a sinister Belarussian version of the Pink Panther. Here comes the hip hop, complete with evil vocals. Sad and grey is what this piece wants to be, and so it is. The twists and turns from the instruments give it character. From “Check It” we are taken to the equally sombre “I’m a Human”. This one bursts into sirening black metal. Tick tock goes the rhythm of death in the background. The vocalist gurgles out his stuff. Then it switches into marching death metal. There’s a clear militaristic element to all this. It’s kind of Rammstein meets Poland, but the ghastly delivery style is unique to Mora Prokaza .

Conventional rhythms are thrown out of the window here. If my translate tool is right, then Mora Prokaza means “a sea of prose”. Without doubt the vocalist’s utterings must mean something. But even without understanding them, my Belarussian not being up to scratch, it’s not hard to appreciate the intense atmosphere and the quality and range of these most unusual compositions. It’s nightmarish yet bursting in subtle flavours. I thought of words like dilettantish or coquettish, such are the theatrical qualities, but both of these words suggest something trivial. It’s not that. Each sound plays on the senses in a very dark way. No more is this the case than on “I See It This Way”, a quiet but menacing piece. Any listener’s mind needs to be open. The mantra like chorus of “Madonna” is haunting, while once again we are guided to a sultry hip hop march. In the background lurks a black metal rhythm, but in the mix there’s a Middle Eastern style sound. The overriding impression of “Madonna” is that we’re marching to war, or more probably death. The drone in the background could be a horde of flies. “Be There” takes us to yet another black and grey soundscape. This is a world of crumbling buildings and suffering. That black drone is there. The vocalist rasps his poetry. A second voice chants a kind of chorus. It’s more like a threat. It dies after a short grey instrumental piece. After the initial piece, the instrumentals are increasingly isolated and minimalist. This seems appropriate, as the sound and atmosphere are just that: isolated and minimalist. Plenty is not a concept here. The deep drum beat is decidedly hip hop, or Trap as I am now learning it to be. The outlook is gloomy and morose, and the black metal underscore reinforces the lifelessness. Tick-tock goes the clock, but it seems more about hanging on. I can’t comment on the lyrics but the dual delivery of them matches the dismal scene. I do know that “Blacker than Black”, the final track, was released as a single. Representative of the others, it is a deathly drone march. The vocalist has more angst and the merciless black metal accompaniment has more prominence. It’s ugly.

There used to be a label called Music for Pleasure. This is the opposite. “By Chance” is pretty nasty stuff, but artistically it is subtle. Mora Prokaza have injected a number of styles, and have created a psychologically disturbing and vivid urban sounsdscape. It’s desperate, but full of imagination and suggestion. I might even advocate listening to it for pleasure. “By Chance” tickles the senses in a very interesting way.

(8.5/10 Andrew Doherty)