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Evolution, “any process of formation or growth; development”. This is perhaps the most important word when describing the Czech outfit Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy. Recently, I’ve begun to look at the instrumentation of this band closely and have come to several conclusions about their music. However, there is one striking conclusion that one cannot escape. Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy may constantly evolve, but they perform consistently, which makes them stand out as an accessibly accomplished and admirable band. ‘Relic Dances’ is the most recent, and best record from this band who’re accustomed to change and invite their audience to do so with them. The best bands are largely recognised as those which can transform, but still maintain the same level of brilliance that they produced with their earliest works. ‘Relic Dances’ is a firm indication that whatever direction Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy take in the future, they will be successful due to the exquisite musicianship and superb song writing. This is the best offering thus far from the astounding Czech’s.
That’s right, Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy have altered their multi-talented game plan once again. This time, things are even more experimental than before. Why? Well, for the first time in the career of the band, they have incorporated female vocals into the mix, but in a much more advanced and leading sense. Although female vocals were present on previous records, the Czech’s didn’t primarily use them and instead stuck to a form of generic male vocals, or generic in comparison to the more harmonious and far reaching female brand. This clean type of vocals suits Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy’s folk-ish elements more than the doom breed, but that seems to be the road that the band have taken in recent time. The folk influences are far more obvious now than they have ever been however, this isn’t in the traditional sense. To me, folk music is a brand of cheery, or happy music (of course, there are exceptions to the rule) but on this record, ‘Relic Dances’, the Czech’s provide us with a much more sorrowful insight into the world of folk music, incorporating a large amount of bass and violins (which have always and will always be incredible) into the soundscapes to force a more painful expression on the music’s face.
Again, it is in these elements that Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy really stand out from the crowd. The violin, in particular, are spectacular and emotively driven. They add a texture to the bands music that most musicians strive for, but never come close to. Songs like ‘To Face The End’ are a prime example of the bands ability to be able to enforce an enriched atmosphere that draws out emotion from both the listener and the soundscapes, which are typically varied. The violin proceeds like a funeral procession, marching towards a saddening end with its textured style that drives a stake to the heart. The bass is also very good as it isn’t overshadowed by the larger performances from the female vocals and the violin, the two most important aspects of the instrumentation. The bass isn’t as quirky as the violin inclusion, instead it’s rather dark and acts as a support to the guitars, which are also dark and intense. These two elements, the bass and guitars, are surprisingly not central figures. This came across to me as a refreshing fact and I enjoyed it. There are going to be those who’re expecting a doom laden demonstration of power, but this Czech band have evolved so much so that doom really isn’t a central influence anymore.
Again, this record is layered with a multitude of mellifluous moments. From the acoustics on ‘Together’ which enhance the slow inducing sorrow that lingers in the soundscapes to the incredible string section on ‘Lonely’, the best song on the record by far. ‘Relic Dances’ is jam packed with emotion, mostly delving into darker and negative emotions with deeply impacting connotations. The soundscapes are littered with picturesque portraits of the howling wind blowing through the trees, dispatching leaves like tears in the breeze. This record is a firm suggestion that Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy are hitting their peak as musicians, so long may it continue. Ethereal vocals, backed up by a melancholy string section and a less prominent, but still graceful bass and guitar segment. ‘Relic Dances’ is perfectly produced, well written and structured in such a manner that it will impress if given the right amount of exposure.
I stumbled across this band not too long ago. Before i listened to them I admittedly had certain preconceptions (some negative) of what they would sound like based on this websites "Folk/Doom" description. Folk metal has never been my favorite. However when i went on a doom spree and listened to every doom CD I could possibly get my hands on I came across this band.
Anyway, all assumptions were disintegrated within the first 5 or 10 seconds of the first song. "Look" starts the album out with an enchanting melody by the band's string musicians. Hanka Nogolova's singing is one of the best aspects of this album. She is not like most female singers in metal nowadays. Her unique, ethereal voice, with not too much verbrato, or too much breath, like many female vocalists fall victim to, is absolutely entrancing. Her uniqueness, along with Pavel's growls, set this band apart from the plethora of "beauty and the beast" bands. Most of the folk melodies are by SSoGE's string duet. Now, the thing that turns me off of a lot of folk bands are the cheasy, sometimes flamboyantly happy, character. However, the strings bring somber, melancholic, yet majestic melodies. The guitar and bass aren't generally doing anything remarkable, they serve more as a accompaniment to the strings and vocals. This is only a minor criticism however, as usually it suites the music well.
If you are looking for absolutely brutal technical death metal, or ploddingly slow funeral doom, look elsewhere. With the exception of a few slower songs/passages, this album stays pretty midpaced. No matter what the speed however, the album does not cease being entrancing and amazing. Stand out tracks are the opener "Look", "To Face The End", "I Would Dance", and the amazing ballad "Lonely" which truly show Hanka's angelic voice.
I highly recommend this album to anyone who enjoys folk or doom metal.