Armed with a contagious anarcho-crust sound, and hailing from the borderlands of Ukraine and Slovakia, the band produces a sound that is one-part total mayhem screamo, and one-part incredible guitar and zealous drumming, plus each is chock-full of informed-by-history lyrics. Once transcribed in English, they make for compelling tales of people trying to survive in the rivershore hinterlands of rough villages, like the song “Masopust” recounts.
In fact, the EP represents a song-cycle built upon the remembrances of the singer’s grandfather, a boy in the west of Slovakia who witnessed the horrible occupation of Nazis. His dark days were spent in both school and sadness, homework and conflict zone repression.
“Masopust” — actually the name of a carnival in the region that occurs 40 days before Easter — switches tempos on a dime, offers plenty of surging energy that would make Assholeparade fans glow, is endowed with some metallic toughness, and throws down d-beats here and there, like rattling machine guns, as the singer howls like a banshee.
In “Nevladzem,” about enduring tiredness all the damn time and the death of loved ones, is packed tight with anxiety-stroking choruses, bubbles with double-bass drum pounding near the end, and throws itself into the headwinds of forlorn anger.
“Obavy” is the about the ominous, deadening chill of killers lurking in the valley, a feeling that can’t be softened by the old cliches “it’s going to be okay,” because the good people die in droves and villages get turned to dust when orders are given by the depraved forces. The pauses and silences, as well as the tough but momentary melodic guitar work that shapes the middle of the song, feel like brooding Leatherface, in which sudden vulnerability holds sway for a brief period, like a person scanning the tree line, waiting for horror.
The slow soul-stirring tempos of “Bahno” add heartfelt drama, slow churns, and swaying heft. The tune speaks to the internal psychology of a person dealing with trauma and loss, war and enemy occupation, as if being sucked down into the mud of a river that couldn’t care less about his condition, needs, and stories. All that is “lost and found” is swirling in the morass of the river, suffocating in dark ripples.
Whether unleashing stark speed or slow churns, screams or pleas, visions or memories, this EP will invade your dreams because it arcs from a bedraggled, tortured yesteryear to the grim, filth, and treachery of today’s brutal wars as well.