It’s not very often that I hear Metal from South Korea, so I look at it as something of a novelty. There are probably a lot more bands out there than you would think, but because they don’t have any internationally recognized acts, most Metal fans would be hard-pressed to name any Korean groups. As extensive as my Metal collection is, most of my Asian Metal comes from Japan, though I do have a fair amount from China now. Taekaury is a one-man band that, up until recently, was known as Apparition (“애퍼리션” in Korean). The music of Taekaury is sometimes referred to as Black Metal, which is the genre that Apparition was lumped into, but this is more accurately described as Pagan Metal in that Heukmae/武神蚩尤/黑梅/Black Blossom (he’s listed under a whole bunch of different names - his Facebook page lists him as Black Blossom (黑梅), but Metal-Archives.com has him listed as Heukmae for this project, and as 武神蚩尤 under his entry for Apparition) is going for a more traditional pre-Christian Korean influence. It’s very nationalistic in some ways, but very anti-Korean in others. The main distinction seems to be that the anti-Korean stuff seems directed mainly at the government and the “Christian” values it represents. I guess his problem is that he sees outside influences (such as Christianity) as corrupting his culture, which is a valid complaint in a lot of ways. It certainly fuels his fire and makes him write some evil sounding music. Musically, Spirit of Koguryo is very “European” sounding. It has a lot of influences from Scandinavian Black Metal (primarily Swedish and Norwegian scenes), though it also incorporates some Traditional Metal and Thrash into the song structures. The more Black Metal influenced parts seemed a bit generic to me, though the addition of Thrash riffs and some blistering guitar solos did spice things up considerably. Spirit of Koguryo is a well executed LP that kicks all kinds of ass. When I researched this band, I was afraid that this would be another one of those “the message is more important than the music” type of albums. I’ve listened to countless NSBM and ultra-nationalist bands that put their message first and released records that were essentially so musically bad that they were unlistenable. My fears were unfounded here. This LP is a very solid release, and I hope to hear more from Taekaury.
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