9/10 – Michael Hing
I have to admit, despite having been aware of Root for a while and owning one of their latter albums. This is the first time I have dived into their legendary ‘Zjeveni’ (a word meaning ‘Demon’ or ‘Ghost’ apparently) debut. In truth this is one record I have been meaning to listen to properly for a good while, so perfect opportunity to do just that. The good folk over at NWN have opted to put out a re-release of this debut no doubt to be lapped up by those that missed out the first time as well as obsessive collectors.
One of the things that has always stood out for me when it comes to Black Metal from Eastern Europe is its overall uniqueness. Its more than just the use of Czech as a means of self-expression, the music is centred on an unsettling aura using melodic riffs mixed with Teutonic thrash riffs. Big Boss’s unique vocal style cuts over the sometimes doomy and sometimes violent music with the raspy vocals of a possessed satanic priest. I am personally very taken by this combination of this music style and these vocals, as well as the penchant for some short choppy songs as well as longer more epic sounding music.
Also above all is an overall emphasis on RIFFS, something which has seemingly been given less and less emphasis in a lot of Black Metal. Parts even echo the likes of Mercyful Fate and King Diamond, showing the excellent musicianship on display here. Not hard to see why Root are one band which are held in such high esteem by lovers of underground extreme metal.