"Mighty Black Inner Flame"
Self Released/Northern Lights Production

Deviator is a folk/black metal band from the Ukraine. They've been releasing demos and splits until now, as they finished their newest output and first full-length “Mighty Black Inner Flame.” They’ve worked with musicians from fellow Ukrainian acts Moloch, Imperial and Begotten, all bands specializing in solitude and darkness. After forming in 2005, Deviator began to grow from Hastner’s solo project to a three-man band statefor “Mighty Black Inner Flame," which still contains the ambient/folk themes incorporated into extremely raw black metal that the young band is known for.

The first track, “Forgotten Hope,” builds up and slowly pulls in clouds of organic density from start to finish. You can envision the sun rising above snow-tipped mountains, a running creek, forests of trees with light pouring in through their roofs, classic folk instrumental images. “The Last Day of Mankind” starts to crack into the black metal stockpile when Hastner’s vocals come in. His screams are legible to the point that you can tell they’re in Ukrainian, which adds more to the densly forested folk impact of “Mighty Black Inner Flame.”

The overall tempo of the album is fast, but stops at times when the folk parts decide to make their appearences. The title track "Mighty Black Inner Flame" aptly reflects the album as its variation shows how hard it is to pin Deviator down to one genre. It induces listeners into a melodic coma, with mesmerizing beats that seem unending. Another track, “Undying Darkness,” is a medley of vocals, both spoken words and screaming, manifesting a powerful atmosphere.

The folk/black metal formula on “Mighty Black Inner Flame” is unique to Deviator. Though many bands may straddle the lines of these two genres, Deviator are in a completely different spot than all others. You can’t escape the black metal half, but at times, you may not even think to really label them as such; though they manage to maintain a recognizable cold malevolence throughout. “Mighty Black Inner Flame” seems to test the waters of many genres. Parts sound black metal, but don’t really have the correct atmosphere. You want to call it folk metal, but then you hear the vocals and the music speeds up like any black metal band would. Deviator certainly doesn’t want to bore you, but some more coherence and unification would be appreciated.

Sifting through the blunt chaos of Deviator and the basement/home production complete with notorious scratchiness, the quality of song-writing is obvious. Deviator is a band to take note of as they have continually progressed in strides with each release. On “Mighty Black Inner Flame,” they’ve made their blackened mark and they’re still in search of more pyre for the flame.