Review by Felix on November 14, 2023.
Slovakia. Eastern Europe. Enchanted landscapes. The origin of Malokarpatan. Take a look at the artwork and you will realize that this band seems to strive for its own niche. And indeed, the three-piece is pretty successful. They mix the sound of Bulldozer's "The Day of Wrath" with the narrative approach of Master's Hammer and do not forget to integrate some elements of oddly designed Darkthrone songs such as "The Wind They Called the Dungeon Shaker". Finally, they are aware of the fact that they need a unique component, namely samples of histrionic film music from Slovakia. Now enjoy the sonic meal that Malokarpatan serve.
Well, this special dinner will not meet everybody's taste. The unorthodox vocalist delivers very different styles, although he prefers the usual shouting. But sometimes he chooses a clean approach and it remains doubtful whether his crooked vocals are always aligned with the music itself. However, there are more bizarre elements that form the trademark of the band. One of these details are surprisingly occurring breaks that open the door for stereotyped "heavy metal hero" solos with braggingly howling guitars. Is this an act of parody? I don't know, but these solo excursions contrast with the dark atmosphere of the songs. The formation keeps a close eye on creating an archaic aura and the entire album appears as a burlesque of insanity. No doubt, "Stridžie dni" reanimates the feelings that I had when I was listening to Master's Hammer's second work, "The Jilemnice Occultist", with its crude story that dealt with spiritualism at the beginning of the 20th century. Malokarpatan are as eccentric as their neighbours from the Czech Republic, because they combine local colour with independent sounds.
The songs do not lack of variation. Sluggish parts alternate with fast sequences, the riffing is neither repetitive nor trite and currish outbursts go hand in hand with less harsh intermezzos. For example, my personal favourite with the extremely concise title "O jedném, čo pijatikou rozum si pomúcil a nakonec v chléve prenocovat musel" starts with obstinate guitars and lead vocals that could originate from Fenriz after having drunk too many high-proof beverages. Anyway, the more or less furious part comes to an end due to a break that gives way to some riffs that do not hesitate to hail the eighties and the beginning of the nineties of the last century. The monumental closer also deserves respect, because its ominous atmosphere, the slightly weird riffing and the lively song pattern create a coherent overall picture. Nevertheless, I have to warn some of you. High fidelity fetishists will not enjoy the album in view of its extremely rumbling production. I am sure that this dense yet blurred recording delivers exactly the sound that the band wanted to have, but it is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it mix. Anyway, thanks to the voluntarily awkward production, even the more or less melodic parts have a raw appeal, maybe also because of the fact that the bass guitar plays a well observable part.
While Death Karma, another very exciting band from Slovakia with a roughly comparable style, explore the worldwide rituals of death, Malokarpatan hold high the banner of absolutely native metal. It is hard to explain why, but I see a somehow spooky fair in a remote Slovakian village in front of my inner eye - and Malokarpatan provide its soundtrack without using folkloric elements excessively. They have penned a passionate album, they follow - despite the slightly confusing overall production - a clear strategy and they are not interested in being everybody's darling. Recent trends and current movements do not influence these guys and that's just one of the reasons why I like this debut. It does not belong to the absolutely outstanding jewels of my collection, but it stands on its own feet and this alone makes it likeable. Generally speaking, if you accept nonconformist sounds, you will probably easily find access to this whimsical full-length.
Rating: 7.9 out of 10864