Gde Vukovi Zavijaju
Review by Vladimir on April 12, 2023.
It’s been quite a while since I reviewed a black metal band from my homeland of Serbia, so now I’ve finally returned, this time with none other than the one-man band Strahor. Strahor is a band I’ve been following for almost half a decade now, but first and foremost, I must say that my interest and support towards the band has never been any less throughout the years, just bigger and bigger. It was clear from the first time I heard Koledo that this was a very ambitious project which was always striving towards greater things, improving upon every past decision and never turning back. Volkh has always maintained his musicality at a high bar with an immense control and care of each detail in his music, which I highly respect from a musician’s standpoint. Strahor has already released a new single in January called 'For Those Who Follow The Heart', which got me and others very excited about the new album. The new and official third album titled Gde Vukovi Zavijaju is yet to be released for the world to hear, which will be out at some point around the end of April/beginning of May, as an independent release on both digital and physical CD. It’s time to enter this strange world in the distant horizon where the wolves howl and see what awaits beyond.
And so it begins, with the title track 'Gde Vukovi Zavijaju'. From the very get-go, it’s cold tremolo riffing and fast drumming, with the harsh singing vocals slowly joining the feast of the gods. The song is not one-dimensional but instead very dynamic, switching from fast to mid-tempo, with folky acoustic sections thrown in that wonderfully radiate pure Slavic pagan atmosphere along with the melodic riff that follows. The aforementioned single 'For Those Who Follow The Heart' is our second track on this album, which I have praised many times for its songwriting, consisting of melodic and melancholic riffing, clean guitar section, dynamic drumming which switches between d-beat, fast double-bass and slow. The third track 'Vampyric Sorrows' is somewhat similar in terms of also having that melodic and melancholic songwriting, a whispering verse like in the previous song, but this time it’s not varying from tempo to tempo, but it keeps it straightforward and simple from start to finish. Both songs have such an unusual range of emotions that can vary from a triumphant and powerful style to a feeling of melancholy and wander. The sixth track 'Age Of Beast' is a powerful banger of a song which has a plenty of kickass fast and double-bass drumming, aggressive tremolo riffing, yet I must say that the song is a bit unusual since it has probably the most absent vocals due to a smaller number of verses. Although this is a minor nitpick, it might feel a bit confusing to other listeners, especially if you’re hoping to hear the vocals where you would expect them to be. Nevertheless, the seventh track 'Kletva' is a great pay off for every bit of musical experience that was on this album. The final outro track is a wonderful closure to this epic story, which gave me a nice feeling of nostalgia for reminding me of something taken from a Mortiis album. As it is the tradition with every Strahor release, song titles and lyrics are usually varying between English and Serbian language, but nevertheless it successfully keeps things in place without straying far off or losing its edge. The songwriting is very much in the style of Strahor, cold, pagan, aggressive, melodic, melancholic and dynamic, just as it should be. The cover art done by Ivan Radnic, which has this unusual purple and pink contrast, does give a nice feel to the overall experience and perfectly fits with the music. The sound production is raw and cold, with heavy and raw guitars, loud drums and thick vocals, which I think is a huge step up for Strahor.
In the end, I must say that the journey to this distant land was a truly epic experience. The sigil that was carved on the great oak, surrounded by obelisks, called upon the warrior to join wolves. The EP Zverovanje, which was released last year, gave a nice teaser to what was coming next after the conclusion of the Wolfborn saga. Saying that it was worth the wait would be an unfair treatment, because it was so much more than a great pay off to all the hype and expectations. I have to say that Gde Vukovi Zavijaju is a great start for the new era of Strahor, which I believe will be an uprising for all the loyal forces that will surely join the cult. Be on the lookout around the end of April/beginning of May, and check out Strahor’s new album Gde Vukovi Zavijaju.
Rating: 9.2 out of 10