As a reviewer, one of my main jobs is to describe the kind of music of the release I’m covering. With this album, the 2nd from Slovakia’s Malokarpatan, I’ve seen it described as Black Metal, which is technically correct, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture.
In reality, this is far removed from the devil worshipping, church burning hordes normally associated with Black Metal… it has more in common with the originators of the genre, like Venom or Bathory. And as with those early bands, it has ample dose of Heavy Metal sewn into its DNA.
So for the nitpicker side of me, I’d call this NWOBHM with elements of Black Metal. It also has elements of Prog/Space Rock and a stack of other nuances, so I can’t pin it down exactly. (They can sound like Orphaned Land on one song, and the next sounds like Iron Maiden, with gruff vocals)
The one thing I am sure of, is that Malokarpatan have the worst song titles ever. I don’t think it’s just lost in translation either.
We can try: Ked starého Bartolína ze šenku na táckach zvážali (When old Bartolín was driven back home from the tavern on a wheelbarrow) or how about this one? V hustej hore na stracích nohách striga chalupu svoju ukrýva (Within the dense woods, the witch is hiding her hut on magpie legs).With subjects ranging from drunkenness to witchcraft, you may begin to think this could be a joke band, but their music is reminiscent of the bands I listened to from the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the mid to late 90s. A time that I still think is one of the best in Extreme Metal.
Add in the fact that this album was recorded in the same studio as Master’s Hammer, The Mass demo in 1989 and it all begins to tie with the history of the Czech and Slovak scenes.
And if you were into old record labels like Leviathan Records or Shindy Productions, you’ll be on familiar ground already. If music from this area is new for you, you might need a play or two to adjust to what I think is a bit of a quirky edge… especially with some of the weird ass intros.
For me though, the more I play it, the more I love it and this strange beast (with the weird song titles) comes very highly recommended.
This is out on October 31st, via Invictus in Europe and Ajna in North America.
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