Martin : After Darkthrone’s hymn to ‘Canadian Metal’, it might be a good idea to celebrate ‘Eastern Bloc Metal’ in similar fashion. Not completely unlike the Norwegians, Malokarpatan manage to pay homage to a very distinct time and place in metal history on their second album.
Before the fall of the Iron Curtain, and even for quite some time after, metal from Eastern Europe sounded completely unique. This can probably be attributed to a combination of predominantly Slavic influences in music and literature, isolation from Western influences, and severe limitations in terms of instruments and studios. To cope with the latter, a great deal of creativity was required, resulting in now legendary bands such as Tormentor, Root and Master’s Hammer.
Even on Malokarpatan’s murky debut, ‘Stridžie dni’, the aforementioned influences were already quite clear, but on ‘Nordkarpatenland’ the Slovakians take this quite a bit further. Their sophomore takes elements from the very first wave of black metal, and infuses them with more than a little bit of NWOBHM. The result sounds surprisingly contemporary, if not utterly timeless. And there’s more than a little bit of cowbell, which is of course always a good thing. It’s almost impossible to believe, but ‘Nordkarpatenland’ merges Iron Maiden’s gallop with early Bathory’s frenzy, tops it all off with some Slavic psychedelia, and all of it sounds completely natural. The lyrics may be completely unintelligible for most people, but the vocals are delivered with such urgency that this simply doesn’t matter. Great album!