(drama) – Zastor Tišine (Altsphere Production, 24 February 2012)
Fuck me, I can’t seem to keep my eyes open. I’ve probably had about five cups of coffee today, but still, here I sit staring at this computer screen and it keeps going out of focus. Why does the last day of work before a break– especially a nice, long holiday weekend– always seem to drag on forever? Not that things will get any better when I leave here; I am completely dreading the fact that later tonight, and probably much of tomorrow as well, I will have to venture out into the world of holiday shopping! Suffering through the world’s worst drivers (they always seem to come out in hordes this time of year, don’t they?) to struggle to find a place to park; pushing through huge crowds of horribly annoying people to get the chance to spend money I can’t really afford on a bunch of crap that my family members don’t really need anyhow… it’s enough to seriously bring on an anxiety attack just thinking about it!
Of course, that’s why the past few days I have been cheering myself (and hopefully some of you out there in internet-land, as well) with great big heaps of awesomely depressive doom metal. Today’s post will complete the trilogy I described earlier (part I | part II), as we voyage to Croatia to check out the debut LP of a band from Zagreb called (drama), which is entitled Zastor Tišine (Croatian for The Curtain [or Shroud] of Silence).
Following a 2006 demo, the band actually recorded this full-length back in 2010 and made it available through various digital outlets earlier this year. I can’t remember, now, where I first became aware of them, but I know I heard one of their songs somewhere; I enjoyed it enough to be willing to put in the effort necessary to track down more info about the band– which was no small task! You try Googling the word “drama” – with or without the parentheses, it makes no difference – and see how easy it is to wade through the billions of results! (By the way, for your benefit I’ve included a list of links at the bottom of this post, so you can have a much easier time learning more about the band and keeping informed about them. You’re welcome.)
But anyway, I’m glad I did, because I’ve been listening to this record for a while now, and it really fits the bill as far as lifting my spirits. And, the band recently announced that this debut is being released on CD by Altsphere Production, and is being distributed through Nuclear Blast in Europe. The CD is currently available for preorder (also included in the list of links below), so that’s great news for (drama) and also for all of us!
From the very beginning of this album, it is immediately apparent that although they classify themselves as “doom” there is far more to their sound than could be summed up in a single word. Introductory track “U Tugu Zagledan” (which means, approximately, “Gazing in Sorrow”) actually contains no metal of any sort, instead building upon mournful tones from the cello and guitar and adding a slow, Eastern-European folk-flavored, minor-key melody on the accordian. Much of this album could better be described as mournful than truly “doomy” — although there are certainly more than enough traditional doom riffs and moods on display as well. For example, when the first song with the full band, “Novi Dan” (“New Day”) kicks in, it definitely brings the doominess and heaviness in full force; soon after, the death growled vocals enter and we’re well on our way to death-doom glory. Featuring plenty of sludgey monolithic chugging and riffing, the song also introduces some pretty sweet clean guitar tones leading into a solo near the end. Here is a video of the song from the (drama) YouTube channel; please to enjoy.
It quickly becomes apparent that, although this band is full of nice and slow doomy death metal, they have much more up their sleeves than just sticking with a single sound throughout the whole album. The overall aesthetic reminds me mostly of Amorphis after their first couple albums, when they started to transition from just a death metal band by injecting additional flavors and styles into the music. A bit of clean singing appears in “Prolaznost” (“Transience”), which starts out feeling like a Crowbar track such as “I Have Failed” or “Self-Inflicted,” but then has a lengthy interlude in the middle where everything becomes much softer and more ethereal. The vocals here are not monotonous, but there is very little melody to them; the effect achieved is more like a tonal form of chanting. As the distorted guitars and harsh vocals return, there is a nice contrast created in the various sounds that are on display here, especially as the cello from the intro is soon added to the mix, intermingling successfully with an angry riff on the guitars and bass.
“Onako Kako Samo Ona Zna” (“As Only She Knows”) goes a step further in creating a contrast to the death and doom vibe found elsewhere, being built on a lovely piano part and featuring a duet between male and female vocals, in addition to some classical guitar and another hint of some cello. Like all the vocals on this album, clean or unclean, these are also not in English, so unfortunately I am unable to comment on the lyrical content; however, the voices intertwine beautifully and the sorrowful tones seem to represent the story adequately even without understanding the words, just as when one hears an opera in a foreign language it is possible to appreciate the sound without exactly following the dialogue.
Two of my other favorite songs on this album are “Kiša” (“Rain”), which again evokes thoughts of a sludgey Crowbar track, except even slower and more atmospheric; and, the last track, “Vakuum Duša” (“Soul Vacuum,” as far as I can tell). The latter contains some very disconsolate-sounding clean vocals, which will likely haunt you for quite some time after hearing them. The closest way I can describe the sound is that it resembles the part in Type O Negative‘s song “Bloody Kisses (A Death in the Family)” where he says, “P-p-please don’t go; please don’t, please don’t, go.” Here is a live video of “Vakuum Duša,” also from (drama) on Youtube.
Here is the information about the release from the Altsphere website.
This album has already been available for MP3 download from Amazon since last March, so that’s pretty awesome. However, like I said near the beginning of this post, it is also coming out on CD in February, and can now be preordered from the Nuclear Blast webstore. (drama) guitarist Bruno Čurčija tells me that the European release is the only one currently planned for this CD, but that it might be expanded in the future, depending on how sales go for the initial pressing. So for those of you who reside in the E.U., please open up those wallets and take out some euros!