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Pušča, 'ça brûle'

Lviv is the western city where many Ukrainians are seeking refuge from Russia's invasion, hoping to cross the border into Poland. On Friday, after Russian military forces struck around Kyiv, the Lviv-based black-metal band Pušča — stylized as пуща in Cyrillic script — self-released the album war is hell months ahead of schedule in order to rally support for Ukraine and its troops.

In a lumbering urgency similar to Oathbreaker, a band also rooted in hardcore and black metal, Pušča's bent on blurred extremes. Over six surging minutes, "ça brûle" blazes with desperation. When Pušča isn't blast-beating its way through ravaging riffage and abrupt tempo changes, Seira — who screams and sings in both Ukrainian and French — steps out of a seething shriek into an exasperated, emotive howl. "Our vocalist's delivery borders on glossolalia," the band's drummer tells NPR Music. He's currently in Canada, with plans to return to Lviv in March.

The band doesn't speak French, but like black metal's inclination towards obfuscation, Pušča relies on viscera — the raw feelings attached to a scorched sonic landscape. Yet in curt, vivid imagery ("I move / digging out / uprooting / studying / to again / try / to relive"), "ça brûle" still suggests a ritual that unearths life's foundation.

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