Long time no see, but we’re definitely back at work! This year 2024 is going to be another year filled with good music, and I can’t wait to listen to it, the expectations are high! So, there’s no better way to start this new year of reviews than with one of those records that will surely be one of my favorites for the next few months!
Dheghom is the new album by Kariti. If you’re into Dark Folk and melancholic atmospheres with a hint of Drone and Noise, enjoy this review!
Kariti, which means ‘to mourn the dead’ in Church Slavonic, is a Russian-born artist based in Italy. Her debut album, Covered Mirrors was released in September 2020 by the Italian cult label Aural Music (Negură Bunget, Imperial Triumphant, Messa) and represents a ‘cathartic peregrination through bereavement’.Marco, the leader of the heavy Sludge outfit Grime, contributes to some of the songs and often joins Kariti for live performances.
I’m not new to Kariti, I had the incredible chance to discover her on Bandcamp during the pandemic (and obviously had zero opportunities to see her live during that period). I was so intrigued by her music, this kind of - as I call it - female Dark Folk is one of my favorite genres ever, so any new artist that plays with these sounds is really my cup of tea.
In 2023, I finally got to see Kariti live. She was touring as the opening act for Colatine (a German based Psych-Doom band), and that show made me lose myself in her music even more. It’s not very common (at least for me) to find artists that engage you so well in their shows that you almost forget you’re in a venue among other people. This is a natural ability, filled with emotional intensity, and Kariti is one of those artists who seems to use it effortlessly.
I continued to follow her path during the last year; I saw her again when she opened for Brutus’ Italian dates. So I got the chance to see her again and talked a bit about this new album. Needless to say, it was already on my ‘most anticipated 2024’ records list.
Dheghom is the second full-length from Kariti, named after the Earth-goddess from Proto-Indo-European mythology. Eleven tracks that explore common feelings of the human beings, they revolve around loss, melancholy, dark stories. Here the russian and untranslatable word “Тоска” fits well in the description; it kinda means an inner state of sadness, melancholy and uneasiness.
Kariti herself wrote about this record on her Instagram “Dheghom is an attempt to write about some things i can’t necessarily understand or even feel, but have a lot of feelings about, it is as eclectic musically as it is focalized in terms of lyrical themes and the meanings they bare.”
Kariti’s ethereal, peaceful - but sometimes severe - voice is mixed with a similar sound that includes moments of pure noise-drone. Additional instruments and soundscape are played by Marco (Grime, Simian Steel) and Jon K (live Cough, Dorthia Cottrell). There’s also a duet with Dorthia Cottrell (Windhand). The production here is definitely fascinating for us fans of these atmospheres.
(The lyrics of this record are in Russian and in English, but here I will directly quote the English translation).
“As Within” is the opening track of this record and also signs the starting point of the circle that will be closed at the end of this record. The lyrics are from a poem by Aleksandr Blok called “COH” (“Son”), and at the end of the record, in “So Without”, we find the same lyrics but in English. This opening sets the dark mood of this record, it is just voice and a background atmosphere, so simple but yet so effective.
“A Mere Called Night”, welcomes us with the synths, almost ominous, in contrast with the voice, that seems peaceful even though it fits so well in this scenery. A dark lullaby. In Kariti’s words: “a song about what happens when no one’s watching, composed on an analogue synthesizer using a specifically designed sound inspired by the horror synth soundtracks, a bleak tale of a dream you cannot wake up from“
“Son (COH” - means also “a dream” in Russian) maintains the path of the dark tales sung in this record. The “hum of the wind” is found in the soundscape. This song is extremely gloomy but also pure in its own way. The softness of the beginning evolves in an embracing noise outro. “This song is a tale of the indestructible connection that, even when ceased abruptly in its physical form, leaving only the hope to return in dreams, never goes away. Here are some behind the scenes images from when we shot the video in this surreal autumnal forest”
“Vilomah” is another take of these dark tales, using the metaphor of the birds’ nest to tell about a parent who has lost his child. “Reckoning” is the most melodic track, with the foggy voice and the piano is one of those that makes you embrace the melancholy fully. “and you insist you don’t exist, afraid to fall asleep, you trust your pain, as only she will know to bury deep”.
“Metastasis” is the track that is most detached from the recurrent theme of this record. I read it as a letter to our Earth, destroyed, used and abused by the human race. So sharp and almost brutal in the lyrics.
“Sanctuary” is like a prayer, but not one of those that soothes the soul, it’s rather one that accepts the events that happened: “I died with you, but we survived”
“River of Red”, as we’re close to the end of this record, we have a moment with this track where the guitar is the co-star along with the vocals. The raw and drone-ish sound of the guitar is almost distinctive in Kariti and here it finds its deserved space.
“Emerald Death” is a severe chant and one of the peak moments of the guitars in this record. “and you will try to cover but you will never hide”
There’s one song left, “Toll” is the bridge of bells that will lead us to the end of Dheghom.
“So Without” closes perfectly the listening. With the reprise of the synths from “A Mere Called Night” and its lyrics are the translation of the opening track (sung in Russian) “As within”. A revelation of what before was unknown, the end of this journey in Kariti’s feelings that we all may have experienced in our lives, a long trip in this dark and foggy soundscape created perfectly.
Dheghom sets Kariti’s sound on an evolved level since the previous works. It is a captivating album that balances classic Dark Folk and Dark Ambient atmospheres, enriched with penetrating lyrics and a diverse palette of instruments that - all together - create a unique sound. I hope that this particular musical path will be recognized by those who love these sounds, to me this is already one of my favourite records of the year. Don’t sleep on Kariti my fellow readers, she already shared the stage with names like Messa, Grift and Brutus, it’s very likely that we will hear more from her very soon!