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Each of Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy’s records, from ‘Iron’ to ‘Behind The Shadows’ has marked a transitory period for the band. ‘Iron’ was an amateurish accounting of themselves in comparison to the stronger ‘Behind The Shadows’, which expressed an inevitability to the intoxicated listener that this Czech outfit were scheduled to change on every record that they will produce in the future. This rings true on ‘Themes’, perhaps the best Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy record at the time. Another transitory period of their career, the Czechs have finally managed to master the production, which is superbly accustomed to their experimental needs and have brought all elements of this aesthetically pleasing piece together in astonishing fashion.
There have been several changes made to the performance of the band, all of which make them appear like a much stronger outfit, on the surface and beneath it. The material present on this record is structured in the best way possible for the band to produce their ‘ultimate’ sound (or at least I thought so at the time, until I heard ‘Relic Dances’). The previous efforts, most notably ‘Iron’, had problems when it came to the production. It was a little thin and didn’t transcend their sound in the best way possible. The guitars weren’t as challenging and didn’t express a formidable domination that one would probably expect from a metal band. The bass wasn’t up to much at all, it didn’t sink it’s teeth into our necks, or show much willingness to express a taste for domination either. This gave the instrumentation, although good on it’s own but not so much in comparison, a limbo affect. The music was floating around aimlessly in comparison to this record, where the direction is towards an improved sound and more diversity. Take the brilliant ‘We Shall Go’ for example. This song represents the best of the past material, but also the best of what is to come from Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy. The violins, which are a constant source of joy, lead in splendid fashion. The information presented for ‘Themes’ is suggestive of how much more Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy are looking to explore experimentation, songs like ‘We Shall Go’ with it’s flowing melodies provided by the violins and sweeping guitars show this. The dual vocals also indicate this, with both male and female vocals providing a different feel to the soundscapes, which vary depending on the leading instrument. In essence, this allows different aspects of the music to control, thus giving each instrument an important role in provoking the prevalent emotional themes. Take the bass, as an example. For the first time in the career of the band, it really sticks out.
The information states that this Czech outfit now have musicians playing the viola, violin, violincello and even the piano, which gives an immediate sense to the audience that this record will splice things up where in the past they might not have. There is an intensity about ‘Themes’ that didn’t exist on previous records. Take songs like ‘My Friend Who Doesn’t Exist’, as an example. The vocals, which vary from deep doom laden growls to harmonious female vocals, which weren’t often included on previous records thus marking a significant change from previous outings. The vocals are more intense and more impacting upon the overall soundscapes, they work in tangent to the guitars, which are also improved dramatically. Finally, they lead! There is a willingness in the diversity and experimentation that suggests from the offset that this record wants to establish it’s sound in a firmer sense, leading to a heightened sense of direction and distorted fun. The folk elements, in particular, show the guitars (as well as other aspects of the instrumentation) up for what they really are … Catchy! This is an aspect of the music that didn’t exist before, but now it does. It’s hard to judge the emotional value of the record because elements like the bass, which has a ’twang’ to it, and the guitars set up the soundscapes as happy and thus conjure images of folk dances, or folk festivals of unlimited merriment. The lyrics are actually quite intriguing in respect to the instrumentation, which provides an upbeat sound. The lyrics are suggestive of a more darker feeling to the record and provides cynicism, as well as appealing to the senses by using references to colour and beautiful imagery and, on top of this, the band also provides an interesting insight into their beliefs in regards to religion.
“no God can Stop the steps
no Hands can Mute Silence
he Lives in Dirty thoughts
he Rapes the Clearest ones
We shall go - so let Bells Ring
We shall go - through Endless Plains
We shall go - through Beautiful Gardens
We shall go - through Pain and Ecstasy
We shall go - Armoured in Blood
We shall go - Loaded with Guilt
We shall go - Knowing of Sin
We shall go - through Pleasure and Pain”
A must for fans of doom and folk.
This album is a very well crafted mix of death and doom metal, normally I dislike bands that combine the two, but Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy combines the two very nicely. Alot of the black metal is found in the instrumental parts of this band, while the death metal element is found mostly in the vocals. The vocals on this album are not all male death metal vocals though, at times they go into a deeper growling type vocals like those of haggard, and on ocaision ( I think its the cello player) will sing some beuatiful clean female vocals. I like the female vocals in this album because they are not found in many other female bands ( Arch Eneny is death metal vocals, some black metal growls in Opera IX, and Nightwish's vocals are the most similiar I would say, but Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy's female vocals are not operatic, they are a bit duller and gothic than Nightwish, they are kinda similiar to Lacuna Coil). The female vocals on this album are not on this album alot, its mostly dominated by male death metal vocals and growls.
The drums are a large prescence on this album, which is good, it gives alot of depth and power to the album along with the bass. The guitars are done well also, very grungy sound with some excellent riffs thrown in at the right time. Through out most of the songs there is an undertone of a cello, and on ocaision this band uses the cello in place of the guitar for riffs and uses it t open songs as well. It gives the album that extra something that distinguishes it from the rest of the doom/death metal bands.
Another good thing about this album (and most of the albums by this band) is that they have short instrumental tracks the focus on atmostphere and the use the cello in the band. It kinda gives the album a classical feel to it, its a nice variety between traditional metal songs, and atmospheric doom songs.
Best tracks: Lovin on the Earth, We Shall Go, My Friend Who Doesn't Exist, Winter Queen.
There are no bad tracks on this ablum, so its great to listen to all the way through. I recomened it for all fans of death and doom metal who enjoy the sounds of added female vocals and cello or violins to music. A good buy if you can find it.