Vera : Already since the nineties, Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy has worked their way up to a very respected band in the Czech metal scène. Albums like ‘Iron’ (1996) and ‘Behind The Shadows’ (1998) offered us excellent doom/death metal with violins. On later albums their music developed further with the addition of influences from Moravian folklore, while the doom element got more and more transferred into the sadness and melancholy of Moravian ballads. It has been since 2011 that the seven-piece band came up with new work, but now the successor of ’Návaz’ happens to be ready for a worldwide distribution.
The title ‘Smutnice’ means ‘sad and sorrowful’ or ‘someone who brings sadness’ and consequently the musical approach has a rather calm and serene character. However, without falling into depressive moods, because the current SSOGE also has a kind of content feel. Just like its predecessor, ‘Smutnice’ was recorded by Roland Grapow (Masterplan, ex-Helloween) in his Slovakian Grapow Studios, but this time multi talent Yossi Sassi (ex-Orphaned Land) happens to be the producer. As guest he plays a lot of instruments on the record too. Now the band is made up of the ancient members Radek (guitar, composer) and Hana (female singer, lyricist), male vocalist Pavel and their loyal cello player Michal. Completed by a new rhythm section and young female violinist. Very important in the music as well are the sonorous sounds of dulcimer, a bit akin to harp or lute. Due to the use of authentic instruments, SSOGE happens to be a band with a very signature sound of their own. Beautiful crystal-clear sounds, cello and drums open the first track, while the juicy grunts of Pavel and pure chants of Hana are intermittent. They also do harmony vocals, sometimes Pavel’s vocals are clean. And we hear a beautiful guitar solo.
‘Kdo Z Nas Je Vic’ is fast and quite hectic. This heavy foundation is sublimated by gloomy cello and violins plus Slavonic chants. The solemn ‘Synečku’ is featured by serene female vocals, dulcimer and strings. It is eternalized in a very beautiful video clip. ‘Ptakoprav’ is a long, rather slow song in which dulcimer and strings prevail again. Female vocals are storytelling, male vocals are clean with any mysterious whispers towards the end. The low ranged sung ‘Malovĕrna’ is super melancholic, even though some heavy riffs loom up later and the bass has a prominent role. There are a lot of harmony vocals and choirs on this album and a good example of that is the very ethnic sounding ‘Za Nevĕstou’. The mood of ‘Tichy Zpĕv’ is calm with clean vocals and the long occluding track ‘Bezbřeži’ is even fragile with only in the second part the addition of drums and guitars. The album expands the sound of the band even more in the direction of melancholic folk music with scarcely grunts or heavy moments, but they show proper authenticity which makes them unique. And they are doing this in a wonderful manner!