Čovek Koji Nije
Review by Vladimir on October 22, 2023.
In 2022, we were graced by a new face in the Serbian black metal scene, that being the one-man project Praznina, led by the individual known as Deimos, who had previously worked with D. from Chaoist on their mutual band/project Todesfall. Praznina released two EP’s, Podsvesno Mrtav and Nedostižni Zenit, which were re-released this February on CD via the label Hammer Of Damnation as a double EP bundle. Not long after, Deimos announced that the upcoming debut full-length album had wrapped recording and that it will be once again mixed and mastered by Within Cells. This was met with high expectations from fans who liked both EP’s and it certainly seemed like the upcoming album was going to take a big step further. So, without further ado, it’s time to dive into the deep abyss of futility and enter the grey bowls of Praznina’s debut full-length Čovek Koji Nije, which is set to be released on 28th October.
As the waves wash upon the empty shores, the opening track 'Hodočašća' begins, setting the mood for the album with its ambience and clean guitars, before the world around you turns grey once the tremolo picking guitar riffs, blast beats/double-bass drumming and dry harsh vocals kick in. Interestingly enough, apart from all the cold and melodic black metal, you will also come across some catchy black ’n roll moments on the third title track 'Čovek Koji Nije', where the riffs do a great transition from the slow and mid-tempo rock ’n roll to aggressive and primitive tremolo picking, with perhaps the strongest vocal performance on the album. The fifth track 'U Beskraju…' also tends to incorporate the slow mid-tempo sections which are backed up with beautiful tremolo picking guitar melodies. Like on the previous EP’s, Deimos continues to use the traditional style of Praznina consisted of Mgła type black metal tremolo picking with a strong accent on the melodic guitar work and open string riffs, although this time the songwriting feels much more complex and progressive than any of his previous works. The album has a very stylistic consistency in terms of the musical output, which I think it’s one of its strongest points, especially since the established style of Praznina worked so well in the past and here you can see that Deimos was not afraid to explore new territories. To some, this may seem like a very fatal flaw, and I am willing to bet that there will be people who think that the entire album seems too formulaic and generic or that it sounds like a very bland copy of Mgła. Indeed, the album may feel like it’s one-dimensional or monotone to people who have listened to at least a thousand similar bands, although I believe that there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to what Praznina is beneath the surface. I personally think that each song conveys a different kind of emotion, or perhaps a different kind of scenery, almost like a black and white movie where each musical piece is its own leitmotif and I would daresay that every track on Čovek Koji Nije is like a different shade of grey. Something which I think should also be addressed is the vocal performance by Deimos, which I think has much more emotions this time and he even expresses himself much more manically, especially with a sudden scream that you’ll hear towards the end of the closing track 'Grandiozni Porođaj Ničega'. Once again, the album cover art was done by Katabasis Design, who previously made the cover art for the second Praznina EP Nedostižni Zenit. This time, not only did she successfully manage to visually represent the main theme of the album with the gruesome and haunting painting, but she also proved that she is capable of conveying the genuine feeling of the music with the art style and expressing the emotions with the imagery portrayed on the cover. As for the sound production, Within Cells did a great job with the mixing and mastering, making this album sound much grander and epic, especially in comparison to the previous two works which were essentially taking each step forward.
Although the previous two EPs represent the strong foundation that built the world of Praznina, I think that Čovek Koji Nije is the pedestal which raised that world on a much larger scale and successfully holds it all the way through. Deimos has certainly progressed a lot, both as a musician and as a songwriter, all of which is evident on Praznina’s debut album. From what I’ve heard on this album, I can tell that he is both determined and willing to take his every step into grounds that many fear to tread. If you haven’t yet checked out Praznina’s previous EPs, make sure you do before you take a huge bite of the main meal.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10589