With a name like Dzö-Nga, and the style of music that they play, you’d expect this group to be from Europe, however, the group hails from Boston, and has managed to put out one of the most captivating black metal releases of the year. By combining folk elements with atmospheric black metal, their recent album “The Sachem’s Tales” is a very unique, well-conceived, and very underrated album. “Midewiwin Lodge” acts as the intro for this album, having rain and wolf howls, combining with a soft guitar as a solid start to this album. Next is “To the Great Salt Water”, which starts off with a soft piano, before launching into the black metal instrumental style that populates this album. This song nicely bounces between the soft and heavy sounds that the band boasts, and helps build a solid atmosphere that stays for the whole release. “The Wolves Fell Quiet” opens with a soft guitar, before launching into some more black metal. This track is definitely more focused on the black styling than the previous song, and picks up the pace a little bit. The instrumental “Halle Ravine” is next, and uses a soft guitar, violin, and piano to build a unique melody that makes its 4 minute runtime feel much shorter.
A gust of wind kicks off “Against the Northern Wind”, before the bass guitar kicks off this song’s instrumental. This track does an incredible job using both the clean and harsh vocalists to create a nice duel vocal section. “A Seventh Age of Fire” is next, and is a continuation of the style of the previous songs. The writing here is very solid, and the use of cleans feels very strong. Another instrumental track, “The Witching Meadow” ends this album. This song starts off with soft piano, but soon the guitar takes over, and gives the song a happier tone than the previous songs. Overall this release is fantastic. The soft piano/guitar opening on the tracks does feel a bit formulaic, but if you’re a fan of weird black metal, don’t miss this. This will easily be one of the most overlooked albums of the year, and one that deserves as much attention as it can get.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Review by Sam Hookom