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More boring Slavic crap - 36%

Noktorn, March 23rd, 2010

Saltus is yet another third-string Slavic black metal band that gets support from Eastside more for being Slavic than for making good music. This comes out pretty obviously on 'Slavonic Pride', the band's first incredibly boring album. As the metal scene seems prepared to accept anything that has come out of eastern Europe in the past two decades, it's not too surprising that you see copies of this album literally everywhere; I think I went to Wal-Mart the other day and almost tripped over an endcap of the things. Unsurprisingly, the music is just as bland, listless, and generic as the cover art and title suggests, making this a release that absolutely does not need to be investigated by anyone except those masochistic enough to buy anything from Poland or beyond.

I guess this qualifies as folk black metal; there's thankfully no silly folk instruments, just usage of the melodies in the riffs. Like many bands, Saltus is not actively terrible, just very boring and static despite their professionalism and clear understanding of how a song should be written. Hell, I'll even admit that there are a few bright spots on the album; 'The Mighty Forest', while completely typical of the style, is pretty well executed, and demonstrates that the band is capable of beating the same riff into the ground for minutes at a time because they have a good enough grasp of dynamics. Moments like these, though, are few and far between; for the most part this is entirely generic and stock Slavic black/folk stuff that comes from the east by the dozen every day.

There's just a massive lack of inspiration on 'Slavonic Pride'; the band occasionally 'spices' things up through an ambient folk passage here complete with battle sound effects and cheesy keyboards, but they're never interwoven with the music in any meaningful way and their actual content is shoddy at best. The black metal is no better; it's basic mid to fast stuff with overly simple riffs, no real tension, and an overuse of conventional melodies that alternate between stock Slavic folk strumming or attempts at Graveland-style epic passages which just fall completely flat nine times out of ten. Come on, guys, you really couldn't do anything better? More irritating still is just how much of the album is taken up by ambient/folk material; a full five out of nine tracks are devoted to lurching Audacity-style ambient compositions, leaving the actual metal even more sparse as though this was an ambient release with metal thrown in as an afterthought.

There's boring ambient and boring black metal but this doesn't mean the album is varied. I seriously doubt Saltus got their shit together later in their career based on the material of theirs I own, so I imagine they're more riding off their aesthetic and country of origin more than any actual talent. This, like so many other Slavic releases, can be ignored. Just pick up a Dub Buk CD and forget that stuff like this exists.