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Silent Stream of Godless Elegy

Návaz Released: 2011

Genre: Doom Metal, Folk Metal

NávazAlthough I typically only feature older bands that have fallen through the cracks of history, “Silent Stream of Godless Elegy” from the Czech Republic has been slipping past the metal community’s radar for far too long. Since their creation in 1995 they have released two demos, four outstanding and highly unique folk/doom metal albums and one EP that deserves more then just a little attention. In fact, with each release they only get better and now with their fifth full length offering “Návaz” scheduled to be released January 17th, 2011 they are clearly on the verge of exploding. If this is the first time you have heard of this band and you’re a fan of folk metal or doom metal then stop reading and go hear them.

In their early days it was very clear that they were influenced primarily by the early 90’s doom/death metal scene, that is to say bands such as My Dying Bride, Anathema and possibly Paradise Lost. However, there was also a tremendous influence from the world music scene led for the most part by the band “Dead Can Dance”. Throughout the years the band has progressed with each album yet they have always maintain their unique signature sound which is something I would never have believed especially after the radical line-up changes during 2001, which left only one original member. Even with the line-up changes the band is honestly at the top of their game and has just recorded one of their best albums to date.

In the beginning with the release of “Iron” in 1996 we already have the foundation of what is to come. Although this first release is their most death/black offering we already have the introduction of the violins and the experimentation is in place that is going to lead to the sound that is unmistakably S.S.O.G.E. This is their only album that has any tremolo picking on it and with each album the death/black influences are always one step out the door while the doom and folk influences take the forefront. This is also their fastest album and will probably only appeal to fans of underground metal. Once again My Dying Bride is a huge influence here. Fans of their latest album might not like this album at all and vice versa. Despite all of its shortcomings this is still a good album.

As we move through their discography we can see that by their second album “Behind the Shadows” in 1998 that they have successfully entwined violins, violas and cellos’ together with highly melancholic doom metal. The vocals range from mid to low death growls, grunts and shouts. Along with a combination of male and female clean vocals that add to a very large group dynamic in sound. The music as a whole has an anthem quality to it with extremely thematic progressions. My favorite track from this album is “Old Women’s Dance” which has the characteristic sound that Silent Stream of Godless Elegy is known for. This album would appeal to fans of early My Dying Bride and early Anathema and is probably one of their more dark sounding albums as I feel the band had a change in emotion with their next release.

Now with their third full length “Themes” in 2000 the band maintained all aspects of their unique sound but the over all emotion of the album is much more up beat and dare I say happy, happy-doom. “Themes” is a great album and has some incredible tracks on it and I have probably listened to it more then any other album they have released.  With the release of this album they had matured both in delivery and song writing. Everything about this release is great. All the short comings of their first 2 albums are gone and the musicianship is very professional and by this point it seems they know exactly what they are going for and they do it with power. Musically the female vocals are getting a little more pronounced and the songs have a tremendous anthem feeling. With the release of “Themes” I believe that they have become an extremely important band yet they seem to be hiding in the shadows as far as promotion is concerned. This album is a must for fans of doom and folk, this is their first work of art – filled with anthemsCry of Glory!

Then in 2004 they hit the next level. “Relic Dances” is released and it is far beyond any of my wildest dreams. This album saw the introduction of female vocalist Hanka Nogolova previously of Forgotten Silence and Endless and you could not ask for a better female vocalist, she is phenomenal. The band still maintained gruff death metal vocals but the female vocals have taken the front position interchanging with the male vocals. At this point we also have a good deal of hammer dulcimers akin to Dead Can Dance that mix with the cellos and violins, perfectly. “Relic Dances” is a fantastic album and should have made the band huge. The production is the best they have ever gotten and the musicianship is amazing. Check out the tracks “I Would Dance or Lonely”. Relic Dances is a transition album and it sees the band going much deeper into folk and also creating a much more accessible and organic sound that actually works very well for them. This is an extremely unique and beautiful album that should appeal to fans of folk music as well as doom fans. Relic Dances is simply a powerful and wonderful album that really does not need to be missed.

The new album “Návaz” is nothing short of a masterpiece, scheduled to be released January 17th, 2011. The new album picks up where “Relic Dances” left off and goes even further into the realm of world music, embracing traditional music at its core. It is also the first album by S.S.O.G.E. to contain vocals and lyrics entirely in Czech language which makes the album even more unique and special. I had actually wished they would do this for a long time and it is really great to hear them finally do it; the "Osameli" EP was only a taste. The vocals on the latest album are truly phenomenal as are the incredible arrangements that bring an even larger array of dulcimers to the rhythmic structure then the last album. As I stated earlier this band gets better and better with each release constantly evolving and surprising with their ability to produce such great music. I can’t recommend this album enough and if you pre-order it, it comes with an amulet. So get off your ass and actually order a copy it’s worth it. The album is so good it is hard to pick a favorite track but some of my personal favorites are “ Slava” , “Pramen, co ví” and “Skryj hlavu do dlaní”. For those looking for an extremely unique folk/doom band that really has something to offer stop wasting your time with trendy genera raping newbie’s and check this band out. The last three albums are a must!






http://www.ssoge.com/

http://www.myspace.com/ssoge

Reviewed by: Mercury 23

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