Stiny Plamenu - _Odpadni Galerie_
(Naga Productions, 2007)
by: Quentin Kalis (8 out of 10)
Stiny Plamenu's shtick has long been their traversing of sewers, providing ample fertiliser for numerous would be comedians seeking to draw a correlation between their preferred habitat and the calibre of black metal. But what does it matter if they deliver the goods? Hasn't the world been treated to enough trollish sword wielding denizens of the forests? (Speaking of which, bassist and vocalist Lord Morbivod is also in Trollech, performing a rawer and rather excellent take on pagan metal.)

Earlier releases by Stiny Plamenu appeared on Barbarian Wrath, which provides an ample indication of their sound: old school black metal stripped of all extraneous elements but with decent production and pushing forward the narrow confines of the genre, but without stepping beyond said boundaries. I don't know why they changed labels -- perhaps they were motivated by patriotic fervour and a desire to stimulate the local scene, as Naga Productions is located in their native Czech Republic. Or perhaps, it was the intermittent use of heavenly female vocals, a feature which would undeniably be called ‘faggoth' by their former associates. I don't imagine opener "Sit Mezimestskych Stok" impressed the folks at Barbarian Wrath much either with a blasting riff reminiscent of "Norsecore" Marduk.

Not that it will matter much to aficionados of black metal; the female vocals are rendered within an old school black metal context and even the "Norsecore" opener is only Norsecore if one ignores the context. The guitar possesses a unique jangly tone, prompting thoughts of Graveland's _Following the Voice of Blood_ but not nearly as drawn out and with an appropriate level of distortion. Morbivod's voice is comparatively legible -- if this were sung in English rather than Czech, I would have no trouble following the lyrics.

Although this was recorded at Morbivod studios, as was Trollech, the production here is muddier -- all the better to reflect both their unambiguous allegiance to black metal and apt for their subterranean domicile.

Straddling the divide between innovation and faithful rendition of a tried and trusted sound, Stiny Plamenu have constructed an album that will appeal to any fan of key free black metal. Lurking about the sewers may attract attention, but _Odpadni Galerie_ will retain it.


(article published 24/10/2007)

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