Stiny Plamenu - Zelezo Krvaci

  | CD

Stiny Plamenu-Zelezo Krvaci
It was with marked excitement that I received this release in the mail, considering my overwhelming love for this (relatively) new Czech project. Having only heard the Barbarian Wrath discs Raný Cernym Kovem and Dive Into The Wastewater (a collection of early demo material) recently, I was immediately compelled to seek out Ve Spine je Pravda, a somewhat pricey acquisition that certainly satiated my eternal penchant for esoteric, unspeakably evil metal in the Czech tradition. The brainchild of one rather unhinged Lord Morbivod, Stiny Plamenu can be briefly described as a more frantic, modernized update of the unholy templates championed by Torr, Crux, Tormentor and Master's Hammer, speeding the more contemplative and deliberate approaches of said bands to a pummeling blur, asserting a more technical edge while fully retaining the unmistakable phantasmal melody of the elder Czechian gods.

To a degree, Zelezo Krváci is an aesthetic continuation of Raný Cernym Kovem, juxtaposing intricate and spectral, cold paganistic melodies with hyperspeed blastbeats and Morbivod's ghastly shrieks. At the same time, the songwriting feels much fuller and more realized this go-around, a little more rigid and more assertive, exerting more control over the sometimes chaotic structures of prior efforts. As with Morbivod's previous exploits, there is plenty of depth and dynamism to the songwriting on offer here, including a pronounced, deliberate break on "Zdroj a Pravda" where he introduces an astral, ethereal female vocal (courtesy of a vixen named Felis) before ensuing with the speed-picked, eerily melodic riffage. "Rány Zrady" features faint, whispering synths that lay low in the mix, imposing a ghostly presence on the track that is simultaneously elegant and evocative.

In many senses, the relentlessly punishing drum programming, oppressively martial feel, grating guitar sound and impassioned vocal histrionics of Stiny Plamenu recall another like-minded, similarly sadistic group of maniacs, England's critically acclaimed Anaal Nathrakh. Both groups aren't bashful about referencing their source of inspiration, mutating them into futuristic, progressive, nihilistic abominations that are far more than the sum of their constituent components. Replace IX Equilibrium era Emperor with Ritual era Master's Hammer, early Root and a pinch of Varathron, and you have Stiny Plamenu, an outfit who quite earnestly are considerably more convincing and musical than Anaal Nathrakh have ever been, radiating a sharply keen sense of dynamic and tunefulness that is fiercely reminiscent of their Czech roots. As perhaps a visual indicator of his progressively apocalyptic vision, Morbivod has dropped his trademark corpsepaint entirely, appearing sans makeup on the back of the record.

In many senses, this is a logical extension of the sound forged on earlier Stiny Plamenu records. Yet, this is far more visceral, dynamic, bombastic, AGGRESSIVE than anything Morbivod has etched his name on. While a bit of an anomaly on the typically atavistic Barbarian Wrath, Stiny Plamenu have issued their most cohesive and streamlined work to date, updating primeval influences for more hyperactive, attention-deficient modern palates. You've never heard blastbeat-laden black metal quite as musical, quite as catchy and quite as polydimensional as Zelezo Krvací, unquestionably the black metal record of the year so far for me and one of the foremost highlights of Barbarian Wrath's illustrious catalogue. - Nin Chan

[ Discography ] 
Label: Barbarian Wrath | Item Code: WRATH 035 | Country: Czech Republic | Year: 2005 | Genre: Black Metal

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