It’s no secret that modern day humanity loves a good disaster story, especially if it made it’s ways to the annals of history at the expense of hundreds (or even thousands) of lives, or if the monetary value was so high, that it would take decades for companies to recover from them. Just a few off the top of my head that I can recollect are the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Bhopal gas spill in India, sinking of The Titanic, the Pan Am/KLM Tenerife Airport disaster of 1977, and most famously, the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. The Chernobyl disaster painted an extremely grim picture of how government & society – at the time – dealt with downplaying an incident of such a magnitude, that many lives were lost, a complete city was left in ruins and never to be inhabited again, and the cancerous fallout still lingers in survivors of the incident to this day. There have been many fictional and non-fiction movies and TV shows, and musicians that have become a sounding board for the incident in popular culture. However, none of them have quite hit home like ‘Ashen Winter Of Chernobyl’, a near two and a half hour-long monument by Hiemal.
The forty two minute long album opener, “Ghost Town” tells a dreary story of life in Pripyat after the last of the city’s population abandons for safety. These smooth, spacey drones sway back and forth in an eerie pattern as if you’re along in the sunless city, patrolling the streets to ensure the evacuation process has completed successfully. “Chernobyl’s Shrine” is a twenty six minute long, extremely bleak drone, that has a very calm and demeaning wintery vibe, as if you’re standing in one of the desolate parks looking out into the nothingness and holding your hand to catch the snow. Only it’s not snow but the traveling ash from reactor number four, less than twenty miles away. Next is “Falling Ash Over The Exclusion Zone” and it continues with the same atmospheric standard as the previous track. Knowing what this album represents, this track is especially relaxing and frightening at the same time. The final epic song on the album, “The Forests Claim Back Pripyat” is a heavyweight anthem coming in at over forty five minutes long and represents the many years of solitude the city has gone through and the only inhabitants allowed are that of Mother Nature. As the ash fades, and the smog gives way to sunlight, natural growth takes over Pripyat and reclaims its territory.
Hiemal have created a wonderful story that tells the harsh reality of mans mistakes and the disappointment of never recovering. ‘Ashen Winter Of Chernobyl’ is well written and produced and the atmosphere on this album is simply stunning. Support this outstanding artist and download this album by clicking on the link below.