Apart from the Scandinavian black metal scene that materialized in Europe three decades ago, the eastern black metal bands as well as the Baltic bands took the second wave of black metal and added a lot of variety to the style. While some black metal bands like Drudkh, Sear Bliss, and Graveland may sound familiar to the fans of the genre, a whole new area of the European scenic began to establish a convincing sound in countries like the Czech Republic, Poland, and Ukraine. Personally, my first impression with non-Scandinavian black metal bands quickly changed my perception of the traditional style of black metal music. Bands like Batushka, Cult of Fire, Mgla and Nokturnal Mortum have added melodic and raw elements of the second wave.
The Serbian underground metal scene is quite new to me and my latest discovery has led me to explore a black metal band known as Svartgren. This Serbian black metal outfit released their EP “Tragom svertla modrog meseca” in 2006, which was the first official output by this band. Formed in the year 2005, Svartgren took almost fourteen years to develop their style of black metal. It was in the year 2010 when the Serbian quartet unleashed the debut album ‘Prazan grob‘.
Perhaps this was a turning point in the career. In any case, the success of such disciplinary hard work was recently uncovered by the band’s second album ‘Divlja Vatra‘ which translates to “WildFire”. ‘Divlja Vatra‘, by all means, is a proverbial title for an album released by these Serbians who play a raw style of black metal. The accomplishment of the sophomore is outlined in the admiration of the riffs and the old school roots that provided the new tracks with such a ferocious tone. The opening track ‘Lapot‘, shows a clear orientation towards pure black metal fury by giving enough focus on the guitar riffs and the black metal growls that resonate brilliantly with the music. ‘Divlja Vatra‘ is explicitly straightforward and furious. The riffs immediately sound powerful as they will please those who are hungry for a piece of raw black metal music.
The second album isn’t quite varied but Svartgren has arranged some impressive riffs. While the guitar role is very straightforward, there are many moments where the melodies shine on the second track ‘Kruna Svega‘.
Stylistically the band seems to be settling over the pure style of black metal. The song layering is nicely blended Svartgren has carefully combined the melodies into the song structure. Yet beneath the thick guitar riffs, the subtle melodies personalize many tracks on the sophomore. ‘Posvecenost‘ is only an example of what the band is capable of; the guitar continues to impress with unexpected rhythms as they’re measured to add dark patterns to the songs. A fierce personality of the album is also provided by the drums: there are many fast moments where the drums erupt in motions of blast beats.
‘Divlja Vatra‘ isn’t a blunt record that you have heard before, despite the similarities there are plenty of hooks that will catch your senses. Svartgren presents many convincing tracks on their second album: ‘Kapija Svetova’ and ‘Usidren’ are among the best tracks that blend beautiful melodies in such an effective way. More often these melodies and rhythms are arranged in a distinctive guitar tone. There is an impressive quality to the guitar riffs and the melodies, the vocals are also fitted to the overall sound. The eponymous is by far the most melodic track of the album, to almost an overwhelming extent. Svartgren keeps the intensity and aggression intact the tremolo lead guitars and the blast beats are also emphasized.
Yet these mechanisms are attracted to the catchy melodies and growls that intensify the atmosphere. Svartgren follows the raw and melodic template of traditional black metal. Although this may sound familiar to many fans, the magic actually lies in the music, which these Serbians have crafted from their hearts. ‘Divlja Vatra‘ is a damned good record that sounds overtly raw, as well as subtly melodic and depressive at times. This is not an exaggeration: give this album a listen and hear it yourself, the album was released on December 22nd through Werewolf Promotion.
Release Date: December 22nd, 2019
Label: Werewolf Promotion
- Kruna Svega
- Kapija svetova
- Pesma srpova
- Divlja vatra
- Milijarde zvezda