Novo Oružje Protiv Bola
Review by Ves on July 8, 2023.
As the tidal forces intensify, the dust that was once Space Eater heats up, friction heating it up to white hot temperatures before radiating all the pent-up energy in a violent burst of electromagnetic radiation. This is Quasarborn. A band near and dear to my heart, I have been a fan of many iterations of this line-up across different projects. From school days spent shouting Zodom lyrics (no, I didn't misspell Sodom), to the tremendous legacy left behind by Space Eater, it's been a good 10+ years since my first taste of this pocket of the Serbian thrash metal scene. Formed by former Space Eater members in 2016, Quasarborn wasted no time and made immediate waves with the single Danse Macabre. This was followed by their debut full-length concept album The Odyssey To Room 101 in 2018. The album was an immediate hit. Their sophomore album, A Pill Hard To Swallow, had its reception dampened by the pandemic in 2020, as most of the promo tour had to be postponed.
With their third album, the lads from Quasarborn have hit us with their catchiest material yet. Titled Novo Oružje Protiv Bola, or (A new weapon against pain) in case your Serbian is a bit rusty, the 40-minute album is their first one written in their mother-tongue. This change is a very welcome one as far as I'm concerned, as I always enjoyed the way Luka structured his rhymes (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwm_0y0mciw). The lyrics continue the mostly introspective exploration, with a sprinkle of societal commentary, that the band had established since their inception. The vocals were a significant highlight of the album for me, with interesting layering in the choruses of songs such as 'Prostor-vreme', i.e. "Space-time", and 'Voz', or "Train". Additionally, the borderline melodramatic delivery of some lines on 'Menja Se', or "It's Changing", sells the song's theme and atmosphere perfectly.
As a progressive thrash metal band, Quasarborn have had moments in the past where I thought that some of the riffs were over-written. I don't find that to be the case on this album. In fact, the technicality of the riffs is still there but maybe slightly toned down in favour of excellent musical flow, some elements of traditional Serbian music, and catchiness, which I cannot overstate. From the groove of 'U Plamenu', or "In Flames", through the Iron Maiden meets post-rock vibes of 'Ogledalo', or "Mirror", to the crushing screams of guest vocalist Danilo Trbojević from Nadimač, there is little on this album I can fault the band for writing. My only gripe is that I would have liked to see some ideas explored a bit more deeply. For example, the last chorus of 'Ne Možeš Imati Sve', or "You Can't Have It All", has an amazing energy, but is quite brief (yes, I get the irony, ha ha).
Production-wise, the tone of the guitars is crunchy and old-school thrash sounding, all the intstruments and vocals sit in the mix perfectly, and the sound is as clean as you would expect and want from a modern prog-thrash album. Luka's experience and skill is on full display, and it's clear that Citadela studio is easily one of the most important establishments in the Serbian metal scenes.
Two months after its release, I still can't stop listening to this album at least once every other day, and it's become one of my go-tos in the gym. Even if you're not into thrash, I would recommend Novo Oružje Protiv Bola, as it combines enough influences to keep the pickiest of listeners satisfied.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10880