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Pleasant I guess - 60%

severzhavnost, May 5th, 2013

If anyone's looking for a softer version of Alkonost, you may have found it in these Slovenes. Brezno play similar slow-to-mid paced folk metal for a kind of dreamlike atmosphere. The female lead singer sounds quite a bit like Pelevina as well. As for Brezno being softer, well, that's where this band risks losing your interest. Take Alkonost, remove the backing death vocals, and sand the edge off the guitars with a clearer recording value, and you pretty much have Brezno.

On the plus side, the cleanness of this EP is probably the right way to go. When dealing with the purer side of folk metal (i.e. no blackening), it wouldn't really make sense to bury the delicate keyboard and flute under a deluge of distortion and tape hiss. Brezno's bass also benefits greatly from the smoothness, and it does indeed deserve to be heard. Check out the bass work on "V Nebo", especially the fill that sets up the first verse. Later in that song, the bass steps up and lays claim to a solo, rivalling the keyboard as centre of attention! Damn fine stuff. "Zanjica"'s flute-led verses also encourage some of the bass' finer support to shine out. Quite inventive bass all around.

As mentioned, the lead singer Inez comes from the Pelevina singing school. You could say the same for backup singer Katarina. A very highly trained voice, with quite pleasant ethereal quality, for the most part. At times, their sound loses the melancholy feel that you'd like in this type of folk metal. During "Zanjica" especially, there are verses with only subdued bass or flute accompaniment where her voice doesn't really project any emotion. You'll notice that again to a lesser extent in "V Nebo". In these moments, Inez borders on the dull, placid cheerfulness of Elexorien's Ine Zijlstra, a singer who annoys me in large doses. Then there's the hey-hey choir bits near the end of "Zanjica"... so much cheese, I haven't managed a bowel movement since I listened. Worse, this is competing with the lead singer doing some diva practice: ah, ah, ahh and so on. When I listen to folk metal, I don't want to be reminded of Princess Fiona singing to the birds in Shrek! The last song "Glasnik" features bass maestro Mitja's only vocal contributions, and he's bland. A pale excuse for Svarga's Wolfenhirt.

The guitars don't take the melody often enough. As a general supporter of folk metal, I'm comfortable with a lead position split between the guitars and flutes/accordions/whatever your band uses. In Brezno's case, the split is too uneven, too folk-dominant. The three full songs - "Zarja" is a rather unnecessary sampled intro piece - feature but one guitar solo, and that's on "Glasnik". Some ass-kicking arpeggiation going on there, but not quite enough to rescue the guitars from their overall underuse. It doesn't help that the guitar tone is flat either. Don't expect the airy, yet buzzing tone of Eastern European greats like Znich, Temnozor or Nokturnal Mortum. These guys polish it out a little too much. 

I've been quite negative on the melody department so far, and that's maybe unfair. Much as the flutes and keyboards do take the melody lead to themselves, they do it well. These tunes are exceptionally memorable: quick, bouncy and energetic. And I don't mean that in a predictable square-dance way, like some more famous Finnish bands of this genre. These songs will stand apart in your memory, and you'll catch yourself whistling them fir a good deal of time afterward. That said, you won't be tempted into finger-tapping, as the drumming is really unimaginative and just there because a band has to have a drummer. Nothing here percussion-wise that couldn't have been programmed; beyond one nice marching roll in "Glasnik".

Final grades: Execution - 75 Fantastic bass, great folk side, guitars showing potential but underworked, vocals mechanically sound but somewhat unconvincing, drums just non-detrimental. Style/Attitude - 45 On the whole, Viharnik is like drinking an iced tea without Long Island-ing it up. You'll like the taste, but wish it would bite back some more. For a total of 75+45=120, 120/2 = 60%.

Some solid kind of folk metal … - 55%

oneyoudontknow, January 21st, 2012

While browsing a bit through the bands at the Metal Archives, I stumbled over the Slovenian one Brezno. I also hope to get some music from Albania soon, but when this will happen is impossible to tell; when I recall it correctly, the band is still busy recording the stuff. Anyway, Viharnik would be the first and so far only release by this band and it takes the listener into the realm of folk … at times.

Metal, a bit. Heavy, in limits. Folk rhythms were woven into the concept and these are supported by the guitars. Judging from this aspects alone, one might suspect that the band took a rather conservative approach, but the vocals take the whole approach into a different direction. There is something ethereal – Žanjica – to them at times, something that reminds on the music spread by the French label Prikosnovénie. The whole concept seems rather to be folk metal than metal with folk influences. The aforementioned track has a considerable amount of flutes, accordion and acoustic guitars, while the opener 'Zarja' has all too common – not to say cliché-loaded – samples of some sort of battle, it is actually nothing more than a mixture between ambient with some spare folk elements. 'Glasnik' and 'V nebo' would have metal aspects on such a level that they are worth being mentioning. There are even some short solos.

Everything is nice, polished, peaceful and flows in a neat way. Nothing annoying, nothing disturbing but also nothing too memorable. A solid performance but nothing else. Take a folk band from an East-European country, add some metal to it … and there you go. Listenable, but by no means impressive.

Based on a review originally written for ‘A dead spot of light (Number 16)’:
http://www.archive.org/details/ADeadSpotOfLight...Number16