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Stíny Plamenů - Mrtvá komora - 75%

Phuling, January 17th, 2010

Stíny Plamenů is one of those names I’ve seen all over the place and read tons about, but I’ve actually never bothered to check them out. Don’t know why, usually I’m quite fond of Czech black metal and one of my current favourites (Kult Ofenzivy) are Czech. So there really aren’t any reasons why I wouldn’t have looked up Stíny Plamenů. But oh well, this is their fifth fullength album and as stated my first encounter with them. From what I understand their lyrics are kind of silly, so maybe it’s just a good thing I have no idea what they’re going on about. But apparently they deal with sewers and venturing down into sewage systems, but also combating Christians. Not really sure how the two themes team up, but they certainly take advantage of their unorthodox lyrical theme as the sewer approach to the music makes for quite an unusual experience.

Some of the percussion here is, I dare say, unheard of before. To further dwell in the sewer theme they’ve incorporated the banging and clanking on pipes into the music. It adds a weird-as-hell effect to the tunes, but unfortunately it can at times sound too repetitive. Not the use of the particular percussion, but the fact that it sounds as though they’ve only got two or three different beats that they’ve just looped and re-used. It’s not overwhelmingly annoying, but more variation in that area would enhance the experience a lot. If you would completely set aside the sewer sounds it’s black metal in the Swedish way, with a 90ies agenda. Imagine early Marduk, Thy Primordial and at times even at speeds of Vargavinter. It’s set at a fairly fast-forward pace, but seldom to the point of neck-break blasting, with aggressive, melodic riffing. It all reeks of Sweden circa mid 90ies.

These Czech lads deliver the goods very well, and they’ve got all the aspects down for a complete nostalgia flashback. But since they’ve got that unorthodox sewer aesthetics going on it sounds far from boring, like some copy cat acts do. Stíny Plamenů is not a copy cat act, though, and with the addition of the harsh, gnarly vocals it takes on a different vibe than we’re used to hearing from Sweden. You know that typical rant that sounds extremely pissed off, that only Eastern European men can deliver? Well, they’ve got ‘em. And while they take you on a somewhat familiar journey there are enough aspects of it to become unique. Instead of traversing high mountains, embracing mother nature in all its glory (as is key for many black metal bands), or even venturing into the most inner circle of hell, you get to wade through sludge and sewage beneath the ancient cities of Czech Republic.

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