CZECH BLACK/DARK METAL
10/10 – KATIE METCALFE
Root, from the Czech Republic, formed in 1987 and are one of the original pre-second-wave black metal bands. Their founder and vocalist ‘Big Boss’ is also the founder of the Czech brand of the Church Of Satan, and weaves satanism, magic and Lovecraftien themes into Root’s lyrics. Viginti Quinque Annis In Scaena marks the band’s 25th anniversary, and is a live album recorded in 2011.
The first track Talking Bones kicks off sounding quite jovial, though still slightly sinister. But after a few moments, the guitars kick in and make the section sound effortlessly groovy. The pace soon picks up and I’m blown away by insanely complex guitar riffing. Big Boss’s vocals are clear, unpredictable and strong. This track is one surprise after another and I find that I’m really fucking enjoying myself.
Sonata of the Chosen Ones kicks straight in with a much heavier intro. It feels really involved and powerful from the get go, though maintaining a reliable structure throughout. Still, there is no time for respite. The vocals at times are epic, and I really do admire Big Boss’s range, and the fact that he isn’t afraid to experiment.
The third track Hřbitov kicks off with some interesting guitar work. There’s some real experimentation with tone and tempo, and it makes it feel quite progressive and different. Root handle experimentation really well.
The Endowment sounds epic from the beginning. It does at times feel a bit folky, but that’s a good thing. The vocals are awesomely variable, and at moments get almost operatic.
In Nomine Satanas starts off very dark and brooding and is one of my favourite tracks on the album. The riff stays the same throughout much of the song, but I find myself getting carried away by it. Midway there’s a deviation to a sound that’s much more ‘heavy metal.’
The Festival Of Destruction has an almost war-like feel to it. The vocals are quite theatrical once more. This track is unarguably catchy, with its ridiculously sexy guitar solos. There hasn’t been one point during this album where I’ve felt bored. I’ve been kept on my toes and totally engaged.
And They Are Silent is a shove into a completely different direction. There is something almost punkish about this track. It has a real anarchic feeling about it. At the point when it slows down you have to adjust quickly. Towards the mid-sections, there’s something of a pause, then it’s straight back into the fray. There is so much energy in this track and it’s fucking exhilarating.
Lucifer starts off with quite a doomy intro. The tempo is sluggish but is something of a respite about the fury that’s come before. The vocals are harsh but there’s still a fair bit of variety. The track continues with a new found aggression after the mid-section. I have to say that the professionalism of this band is evident throughout this release.
The Aposiopesis has quite a slow, laid back intro. The vocals are oppressive and there’s quite a mournful feel to this track. It feels as if this band don’t have any constraints. They’ll try and conquer anything.
The Old Ones has a very folk influenced sound to it. Pisen Pro Satana sets my heart on fire. Everything about this track is brutal yet memorable. It’s fucking intense and crushing in its brilliance.
666 is grand and fucking epic in its sound, and demands all of your attention. It’s chaotic, savage and thunderous. This is the track that would give me a brain haemorrhage if I let myself go. It feels a bit dirty and your expectations are truly fucked with!
There is a lot to take in with this album, and it will require multiple listens to even begin to get it all into your system. But believe me, it’s fucking worth it. From start to finish this album has been an absolute incredible journey.