If you’ve read any of the guest posts Jonathan Petkau has done for Nine Circles, you know he’s a man of many hats. Whether he’s chronicling the adventures of a cow trapped in space with his Spacekau synthwave project, keeping the #metalbandcampgiftclub community alive and well, or even podcasting about nerdy interests with like-minded metal nerds, his passion for all genres of metal is both intense and bonafide. Nowhere is that more evident than with Domestikwom, his black metal project that’s set to release its debut full length A Peace That Destroys next month. In advance of that Nine Circles is fired up to premier the first track off the album, the engulfing “Dekulakization.”
“Dekulakization” begins as one of the more straight ahead metal tracks on the album, but a closer listen displays Petkau’s keen talent for blending a number of different styles together, not only across the entire album (bluegrass and folk hymns mix with noise and hardcore elements) but individual tracks as well. The term “Dekulakization” comes from the Soviet campaign of political repression that took place between 1929 and 1932, resulting in the deportation and deaths of millions as the Soviet Union brought more and more of the population and industry under state control. A Peace That Destroys charts the hardships and conflicts faced by Petkau’s ancestors as they fled the death and destruction of Russia during this time and settled in Canada. The track is further personalized by the haunting narration which ties the album together, and is in fact Petkau’s great grandfather.
Heartfelt and personal as A Peace That Destroys may be, none of that would matter if the songs themselves don’t work, but listening to “Dekulakization” should quickly quell any of those fears. Following a rolling drum and guitar intro the piece, the track song lurches into a stuttering doom riff with Petkau’s rasp front and center. The drums back up to catch swirling leads that give the song a rush of psychedelic noise before going full-bore again. This back and forth continues to escalate until the the narration enters in conjunction with a monstrous outro, courtesy of Qoheleth’s Jeremy Hunt mixing his off-kilter guitar scrambling with Petkau’s black metal riffing. It all ends in a crash of dissonant lines collapsing on each other, echoing the tumultuous end of the album’s Russia cycle as it heads into Canada.
Having had time to digest the full album for a time now (full disclosure: I contributed a solo to one of the tracks as well as some harmony vocals), it’s great to confirm that Domestikwom has brought in A Peace That Destroys something that not only fulfills the musical promises made on their debut EP a year ago but elevates the notion of what metal can communicate.
Not too bad for an album that also happens to kick ass, I’d say.