Malokarpatan - Stridzie dni - 4x reviews - EN

Malokarpatan - Stridzie dni - 4x reviews  - EN

Slovakia. Eastern Europe. Enchanted landscapes. The origin of Malokarpatan. Take a look at the artwork and you will realize that this band seems to strive for its own niche. And indeed, the three-piece is pretty successful. They mix the sound of Bulldozer's "The Day of Wrath" with the narrative approach of Master's Hammer and do not forget to integrate some elements of oddly designed Darkthrone songs such as "The Wind They Called the Dungeon Shaker". Finally, they are aware of the fact that they need a unique component, namely samples of histrionic film music from Slovakia. Now enjoy the sonic meal that Malokarpatan serve.

Well, this special dinner will not meet everybody's taste. The unorthodox vocalist delivers very different styles, although he prefers the usual shouting. But sometimes he chooses a clean approach and it remains doubtful whether his crooked vocals are always aligned with the music itself. However, there are more bizarre elements that form the trademark of the band. One of these details are surprisingly occurring breaks that open the door for stereotyped "heavy metal hero" solos with braggingly howling guitars. Is this an act of parody? I don't know, but these solo excursions contrast with the dark atmosphere of the songs. The formation keeps a close eye on creating an archaic aura and the entire album appears as a burlesque of insanity. No doubt, "Stridžie dni" reanimates the feelings that I had when I was listening to Master's Hammer's second work, "The Jilemnice Occultist", with its crude story that dealt with spiritualism at the beginning of the 20th century. Malokarpatan are as eccentric as their neighbours from the Czech Republic, because they combine local colour with independent sounds.

The songs do not lack of variation. Sluggish parts alternate with fast sequences, the riffing is neither repetitive nor trite and currish outbursts go hand in hand with less harsh intermezzos. For example, my personal favourite with the extremely concise title "O jedném, čo pijatikou rozum si pomúcil a nakonec v chléve prenocovat musel" starts with obstinate guitars and lead vocals that could originate from Fenriz after having drunk too many high-proof beverages. Anyway, the more or less furious part comes to an end due to a break that gives way to some riffs that do not hesitate to hail the eighties and the beginning of the nineties of the last century. The monumental closer also deserves respect, because its ominous atmosphere, the slightly weird riffing and the lively song pattern create a coherent overall picture. Nevertheless, I have to warn some of you. High fidelity fetishists will not enjoy the album in view of its extremely rumbling production. I am sure that this dense yet blurred recording delivers exactly the sound that the band wanted to have, but it is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it mix. Anyway, thanks to the voluntarily awkward production, even the more or less melodic parts have a raw appeal, maybe also because of the fact that the bass guitar plays a well observable part.

While Death Karma, another very exciting band from Slovakia with a roughly comparable style, explore the worldwide rituals of death, Malokarpatan hold high the banner of absolutely native metal. It is hard to explain why, but I see a somehow spooky fair in a remote Slovakian village in front of my inner eye - and Malokarpatan provide its soundtrack without using folkloric elements excessively. They have penned a passionate album, they follow - despite the slightly confusing overall production - a clear strategy and they are not interested in being everybody's darling. Recent trends and current movements do not influence these guys and that's just one of the reasons why I like this debut. It does not belong to the absolutely outstanding jewels of my collection, but it stands on its own feet and this alone makes it likeable. Generally speaking, if you accept nonconformist sounds, you will probably easily find access to this whimsical full-length.
Eccentric - 79%

This band was discovered by yours truly one lazy afternoon, while checking out the nwn! prod. forum. A new band that claims to be playing "old school black metal influenced by the 80s and early 90s classics like Venom, Mercyful Fate, Bathory, Barathrum, etc." is usually not one to expect a lot from (except for attempts to unsuccessfully clone one of these bands), but the fact that they combine influences from local folklore, sing in their own language and have this awesome, unusual cover artwork, made it rather tempting to check them out.

Well, these guys are either too modest or self-unaware, because this album is so much more than just another "old school black metal" release. While the smell of Becherovka is present everywhere, the songwriting was treated with great seriousness here. There is no shortage of interesting guitar leads (that sound really original) to be found here, alongside damn catchy riffs that totally rock. In general, the guitar has an awesome raspy tone (very reminiscent of early Venom) and the album's cavernous production fits the music style perfectly.

To make the atmosphere really obscure, a lot of reverb was used here. There is no such thing as "too much reverb" and this album is a great proof. The folk interludes and some speech samples from old local movies that are used here, make the track-list sound quite diverse and well balanced, but even without them - there would be no lack of variety and tempo changes here. While the vocals (well executed "drunken caveman" screams, combined with spontaneous "wifebeating shouts") disclose the great impact of alcohol on this recording, these tracks don't sound happy, but rather angry and full of tension. Just like Hades Archer's "Penis Metal" is an extremely solid piece of black/thrash, so is Stridžie dni much more than a drunken, "fun" album.

After 5 or 6 listens - it's still possible to discover previously unnoticed layers in Malokarpatan's music, in addition to the memorable riffs that can't be unnoticed right away. Another interesting element used in this album is the programmed drums. Except for the cymbals, they sound much more organic than the way real drums sound in most post 80's metal albums. Jokes aside, the snare and the toms sound like a heavy hitter pounds them with full power and the bass drum actually sounds bassy and not clicky. Expect no unnecessary double bass "assaults" here, but a more simplistic yet very effective approach. Perhaps a real drummer would make the difference between "very good" and "great", but in this case - the slightly weird drums sound actually compliments the music.

If references had to be made, Stridžie dni should probably be described as Venom, Tormentor (Hungary), Master's Hammer, Tangorodrim and Negative Plane members jamming with local musicians, in some forgotten Slovak village. Stridžie dni stands out due to the fact that it has the unmistakable local touch. There is no need to know anything about this band in order to notice which part of the world they are from, and that's quite a rare phenomenon nowadays. For those who like extreme metal from the era when bands sounded like where they came from and like what they were singing about (and "folklore influences" that have nothing to do with happy trolls dancing in Finland), this rotten sounding piece of black metal should be a breath of fresh air.
Accidental gem - 90%

Solvakian black metallers Malokapartan play a rather weird style of metal that seems to embody the spirit of the genre for sure, yet there are also quite a bit of nationalistic elements to be found here as well. Everything from triumphant horns to speeches and even whimsical classical music can be found introducing these pieces, whilst the music itself is found to be quite a bit rawer than the samples. That being said, it sounds right for the kind of music it is, and all of the instruments are readily discernible. You’ll hear As (guitar) shredding up a storm, as the angered shouts of Termnohor (vocals) come off as frightful and terrifying as we might expect. As I’m not familiar with the language I can’t actually tell you what these lyrics deal with, but Metal Archives describes them as folklore, witchcraft, drunkenness and national pride. Perhaps nationalism is too strong a word here and I feel instead that these guys just like to tell stories through a rather sort of dark and black metal influenced musical avenue. They take pride in their country and I don’t necessarily feel that is a bad thing, as people should care about where they’ve come from.
In any case I’m hit with a very raw, yet rather interesting album that some might compare to acts like Bathory, Darkthrone and Master’s Hammer, the latter of which I’m hearing a lot of influence from. The whole thing started out with a rather adventurous sort of introduction piece, making me feel as though I was on a ship in the middle of the ocean. Though quickly that changed to a much warmer atmosphere that recalls heavily the eighties era of the genre. Stridžie dni is the kind of album that sounds as thick as it possibly can, making you think these guys recorded out in a shed somewhere and you’ll really dig it if you enjoy that classic analogue kind of sound. Unfortunately, the third track on this record is the only one with the eerie keyboard synthesizers but I suppose one piece in that style is better than none at all, as each track does seem to have it’s own atmosphere and that seems to be what is important in the first place. Like T.O.O.H., sometimes the frontman’s vocal approaches can get a little hectic, almost feeling as if he’s drunkenly yelling among the surprisingly well-textured compositions utilized here. That being said, Malokarpatan is definitely more geared to classic metal fans as I don’t think that some of the younger generation will be apt to checking out what to them might sound very dated, and that’s fine. I’ve no doubt that it’ll sound just right to someone who is more familiar with this kind of approach.
Stridžie dni has the right idea, but I’m not necessarily head over heels for it and once again, it takes a special kind of listener to appreciate this kind of performance. I like what they have done here and that it comes packed with several unique and intriguing sections, whether those be clips from old movies or just oddities for the realm of black metal in general. I think if you sit down with it and give it a listen, you’re going to be a bit surprised, because the record seems to sandwich the norm together with something totally different that we just don’t hear quite so often. Some of the ideas on this album are things that I don’t think many other bands have tried at all, which leaves us with a very odd and extremely unblack sentiment in it’s perplexingly interesting closer. The listener might sit and wonder as to what kind of record Malokarpatan were trying to make with Stridžie dni, which is a topic well worth pondering. It’s familiar, yet wholly different. Certainly not a bad thing, and a welcome change of pace in any case.
The Grim Lord

The moment I heard the first riff on Kýho besa mi to tá stará ohyzdná striga do pohára nalála I knew this was an album I had to review. But first, who are Malokarpatan? Well, they are a Slovakian black metal band who just recently signed to the great Irish record label Invictus Productions. Their style of black metal is unique, managing to blend in 80’s Venom together with Master’s Hammer and there is even a Negative Plane vibe going on. The production is murky and cavernous and the vocals are soaked with reverb. The layering is extensive, but it does not get in the way of riffing which has this ability to shift from evil black metal to classic rock n’ roll that you very rarely hear. There are also some folky elements thrown in here and there in addition to the use of samples.
The album starts with a two-minute long intro that sounds like the soundtrack of a dark fantasy movie from the 70’s. The first real track is Kýho besa mi to tá stará ohyzdná striga do pohára nalála, which starts off with a Negative Plane esque riff that sets the mood. The character of the song changes drastically after about one minute and forty-five seconds when the band suddenly decides to play a Venom song instead. These sudden changes happen a lot over the course of the album, which makes the album sound interesting throughout the entire 44-minute playtime.
Na kríllach cemnoty do horských úbočí zostupuje posol moru a hniloby is a fairly typical murky black metal song until the two minute mark where there’s a really dark section with nothing but the bass and an acoustic guitar playing over a sample. What really stands out on this track is the audible bass which is pretty rare in black metal in general. O víne, kterak učený Hugolín Gavlovič z Horovec vyprával takes you back to the beginning of black metal with a Venom influenced riff being played throughout most of the track. The outro features a kick-ass guitar solo as well.
Starý z hory, čo zver svoju budzogánem pobil is the slowest song on the album and it starts with a folky intro with bird song sampled in the background before the guitar sets in. The atmosphere is dark and unsettling at times with the shouted vocals that at times sounds like the haunting cry of the damned.
O jedném, čo pijatikou rozum si pomúcil a nakonec v chléve prenocovat musel is just a straight up banger. The first thing you might notice is the use of clean vocals that reminds of newer Darkthrone. The riffing is ferocious and catchy at the same time with some amazing lead guitar work. Popolvár najväčší na svete, šarkanobijca a bohatier is the last and longest track on the record. An ominous intro is the first that greets you. The guitar work here is eerie and as I mentioned before, the comparison to Negative Plane is spot on at times. On the last minutes of the album, you’re waved farewell with an outro first featuring a sweet guitar solo before an epic sample sets in.
Malokarpatan have with Stridžie Dni created one of my favorite albums of 2015. It’s unique, the riffs are solid from start to finish and the replay value is massive.
Only in my first 24 hours of first discovering this album I listened to it five times, simply because it’s just straight up an amazing album.
Jan Jakobsen