Thursday, January 23, 2014

Metal Briefs: Slovenian Bands

This is another catch-up post in which I put several bands together in one post.  These bands were all sent to me by the same promoter and they have one thing in common: they are all from Slovenia.  Slovenia is not exactly a metal hotbed.  According to Metal Archives, there are 217 documented metal bands from Slovenia.  Here are three of them:

Here we have a fairly young death metal band, releasing their first EP in 2013.  Armaroth plays a somewhat unique combination of slow and fast death metal.  At times, the riffs plod along at a snail's pace, but they often complement that with some surprisingly fast sections.  The slower parts are fairly typical for modern death metal, heavy, down-tuned riffs, and deep, grunted vocals.  The faster parts that connect verses or choruses to verses are often the most interesting parts musically.  The band is able to shift tempos fairly seemlessly, and do so quite often.  "Labyrinth of Greed" is the standout here, with its generally faster pace and rampaging riffs, along with an impressive solo.  This is a solid death metal EP from a rising group.

MIST: DEMO (2013)
Mist is a group of five Slovenian women playing doom metal in the vein of Black Sabbath, Candlemass, and other masters of the genre.  This is the band's first release, a demo of two songs.  Mist play real doom metal, the way that it was played when the genre was conceived.  It is slow and heavy, but with a lack of distortion so that the riffs really shine through.  The vocals of singer Nina Spruk are clean and haunting, adding to the occult feel of the songs.  This is an extremely impressive first recording.  I am anxious to see what else this band can do.

Mothermound was previously known as Expulsion and were active from 1995 to 2005.  In that time period, they only released on full-length.  After a hiatus, the band re-formed in 2009 under the name Mothermound.  Reference points for the band's sound start with the early bands at the forefront of combining doom metal and death metal, groups like Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, with a little bit of progressive metal thrown in a la Opeth.  The band kicks things off with the epic length "Aurora Awaken", which is a little unusual.  Typically the epics come at the end of the album, so right away it is clear that Mothermound thinks a little outside the box.  The band typically utilizes clean riffs, with the occasional acoustic section, very much like Opeth.  The band does not follow the typical verse-chorus-verse progression, another similarity to Opeth and the other aforementioned bands.  Vocals are alternated between a gravelly growl and a clean wail which sounds very much like Layne Staley at times.  Not a bad album, although it does tend to drag a little at times, which is not unusual with this brand of metal.

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