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Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy

Het raffinement van de groepsnaam Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy ontlokt in mij dezelfde fascinatie als de filmtitel 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being'. Komt het misschien omdat beide kunstuitingen afkomstig zijn uit Tsjechië, van oudsher al bekend om zijn culturele passie? Bij deze eerste naam hebben we te maken met een groep die al bestaat sinds 1995 en in eigen land tot de koplopers van de gothic/doom scene gerekend wordt. Zij brachten drie albums uit die geworteld waren in de muziek van Anathema en My Dying Bride, maar inmiddels voegt SSOGE heel wat nieuwe elementen uit de nationale folklore toe aan hun harde basis. Centraal staan nog immer de viool en cello, maar daarnaast heeft de band een eigen geluid ontwikkeld dat best origineel is. Omdat Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy in mei voor het eerst in België en Nederland zal optreden is het hoog tijd dat we deze sympathieke Tsjechen aan u voorstellen. Be there, op 7 mei in the Frontline in Gent (B) want anders zou u best iets unieks kunnen missen!

Door: Vera | Archiveer onder doom metal

It will be the first time Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy plays in the Netherlands and Belgium. Can you tell us what people can expect of a concert of SSOGE?

I would like to know that too. Wait, I'm just joking :) You can expect music we're into, can expect SSOGE of 2004. I mean – we've passed almost 10 years from our beginning and we've passed really a long way. Our music is still doomy, but much more influenced by our folklore. Well, what to say? Perhaps let expect the fusion of heavy music and folklore, using poly-rhythmical riffs with folklore melodies.

Another thing that I wonder about is your special, extended name. Who came up with that and what is the deeper significance/mood behind it?

Well, it sounds interesting, doesn't it? :) Truly, I really don't know what had happened in my head, but then I proposed this name to other members and they said “yeah, we take it…”, so we are Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy. The name of the band means how we look to ourselves indeed. It includes tempers and feelings of our music – melancholic and calm, but wild and pagan as-well…

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But there is more good news. Around this time you planned to go to the studio for a fourth album. Can you tell a bit more about these plans?

Yeah, we've already booked a recording studio for June and maybe July. To tell the truth the new album could be already recorded long ago, but there were some line-up changes lately, and – besides – we're very busy with our jobs as-well. You know, we have to make our living first :) Anyway, I hope the new album will be out during September…

The last full length album was 'Themes' (2000). Can you resume what happened after that release?

Too many things :) We toured over Czechia, Slovakia and Switzerland, supported Anathema in Prague, played a lot of festivals and gigs. But, you know, something was wrong in the band and that became more and more evident. Then we were awarded Czech Grammy 2000 called "Andel" ("Angel" in English) in "hard'n'heavy" genre and all we did at that moment was we fell out utterly. So I kicked most of the band-members out and set up a new line-up. Enough? :)

As you have quite a new line up now, can you introduce all the members of the band at this moment?

As I said, there were some line-up changes lately. My brother Michal decided to take care of his family as he has a small baby and singer Zorba left the band without any reason few weeks ago. So our current line-up is: Hanele – female voc. (you might know her from bands like Forgotten Silence, Endless, Love History, …), Novi – violin (another fine girl in the band:), Siki – cello, Dusan – bass, Datel – drums (former drummer of Dissolving Of Prodigy) and me – guitar. And just now we're testing a new male singer, so cross your fingers :)

band imageWhen we go back in time, can you tell us about the time of the foundation of the band, who are the founder members and main songwriters of Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy? What were the biggest influences?

The band was founded by me and my younger brother Michal in summer 1995. We were totally fallen in love with doom metal and bands like Paradise Lost, Anathema, My Dying Bride, Tiamat and so on… Soon we were joined by other band-members and started to compose. In that first line-up it was Petr (guitar/voc) who was the main songwriter. But of course, all songs were work of the entire band, everyone gave his mite :)

About the new written songs, are they still doomy and metal, focused on violin or not, role of the vocals, cello, etc?

Definitely we're still doomy metalhedz :) But as I said, we've passed a long way. Songs are more diverse, some are very wild and hard, some calm and slow, and all are influenced by our folklore. Maybe I can say we went into our roots. But not those metal ones, I mean roots of us as people who lives here, who absorb the spirit of their native land. I'm totally into our folklore, and I'm into metal as-well, so our new songs reflect that. We'll use some additional instruments like dulcimer, percussions and so on as-well…

You describe it yourself as 'pagan doom metal with Slavonic influences' This is a nice combination. Can you tell a bit more about those Slavonic influences?

Well, this was in times of our 3rd album “Themes”. Nowadays I would better say simply “folklore metal”. As for those influences, I guess I've just told about that :)

If you look back on your former releases, can you tell us what happened and was reached after the release of:

Iron

1996 - our debut album. We were just a pretty unknown young band, only a year from our beginning. It suffers some “infant ills” and listening to it I just have to laugh :)

Behind the Shadows

1998 – my favourite one. Here we started to use folklore influences. And you can find two Dead Can Dance cover songs there!

Themes

2000 – well, Czech Grammy awarded album :)

band imageAnd how can they be described in a few words of evolution?

What was just outlined at the previous album is widely built-up at the next one. Slavonic elements, groovy rhythms, melodies, dynamic. So comparing these albums, the newer one is more mature and sophisticated than the previous…

You did many concerts with great (international) bands in Czech Republic, supporting them. Can you tell a bit more about that?

We supported Cradle Of Filth, Anathema and The Gathering during their CZ part of tour. All these gigs were really great, I like that atmosphere of hall overcrowded by hundreds of grateful fans.

What are the best memories on that? A nice anecdote or so…

I just can't understand how Danny of Anathema smoking joints all the time can play so fucking great show. I did it once and “nevermore” :)

Czech Republic has also a great tradition in festivals. I guess you always appeared on several of them. Can you talk a bit about these?

Yeah, there're some fine summer open-airs every year. The biggest one is “Noc Plna Hvezd” (“Night full of Stars” in transl.) with the visit rate about 20.000 people. But it's mostly orientated to commercial music and only B-scene is into “hard'n'heavy”. As for metal, there used to be North Power Jam open-air (called “Czech Dynamo”) in the past, but some shits happened and it's definitely dead. So there're about 3 big festivals here – Obscene Extreme (mostly into grind/death), Open Hell (into black/doom), both in July, and Brutal Assault, perhaps the best present metal festival here, in August. The best experience for me was one of North Power Jam where we met with my beloved Orphanage on the stage…

You appeared on more than one compilation and/or tribute CD too. On which ones?

Just in brief - Breath Of Doom compilation (1997), A Tribute to Master's Hammer (2000), Tribute to White Zombie (2000), Tribute to Led Zeppelin (2000) and Carohrani compilation in 2003.

Can you tell us about the folklore CD 'Carohrani aneb z Korenu Moravskeho Folkloru vzesle'? And what does this mean, cause beside Moravia is a part of Czech Republic, and I can't understand anything, hehehe.

This compilation is devoted to the present Moravian folklore orientated music. There's about 20 bands/artists and 4-lingual booklet and almost 80 minutes of beautiful music influenced by Moravian folklore. We were very lucky to get there as there're many “stars” we admire and respect for. For example Iva Bittova, Hradistan, Tomas Kocko & Orchestr and others. Probably you don't know them as they have nothing in common with metal music, but they represent our folklore all over the world. As for Moravia, yeah, you're right, it's a part (most eastern part) of Czech Republic. We have different dialect (better said “dialects” as it differs on various part of Moravia), different folklore and so on. I'm very proud to be Moravian :)

band imageI remember you once won the Czech Grammy award in the hard'n'heavy category. When and what were the results of that?

As said before, we won this award in March 2001 for our “Themes” album. The result was just one – the new line-up. No, I'm just joking :) Of course we were focused by media which haven't known about us before – TV, radios, magazines.

You have your own record label since long now: Redblack Productions. Can you tell us more about this initiative?

Yeah, REDBLACK has started with our second album “Behind The Shadows”, RedBlack's first release in 1998. Now we have 25 titles. To say shortly what they're about – we simply take care of the best Czech metal bands :) So you can find there bands like Root, Forgotten Silence, Endless. But to tell the truth it's a very hard time now as most of the people just copy music and download it from internet…

Can we expect new songs on stage?

Definitely you should :) We're eager to play some of the new songs as they sound great! I think we'll play about five new songs at least.

As far as everything is planned already, can you tell us something about the studio, producer, artwork, titles, style of the new album?

We'll enter Sopa studio what's just a small home studio of our friend Stanja Valasek, fine dude and great sound engineer. I give absolute credit to him. The producer is Tomas Kocko, friend of ours and “folklore guru”. He doesn't know much about metal, but it doesn't matter 'cause music is only good and bad :) The artwork is just in the process, so let's wait. Here're some track titles – Trinity, I Would Dance, Swallow Grave, Gigula, Together.

Is there a general theme for the album or more compact songs that stand on themselves?

Yeah, general theme is our attitude to folklore music :) But you mean any general story behind the album perhaps. No, there's not any.

In waiting for your coming, is there something you want to say to the Belgian and Dutch readers of this?

Well, just come and find what's our music about, you won't be disappointed at all :) And look forward to our coming album!

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Take this possibility to watch one of the most respected Czech metal bands live on stage, at last after all these years: Friday, the 7th of May 2004. The Frontline. Overpoortstraat 35. 9000 GENT (Belgium) Together with promising Belgian act 7th Circle. Doors open 20hrs, first band starts at 21hrs.

Discography:

1996: IRON

Ugly Jewel
Passion & Desire
Iron Mask
Last…
Desolated Remain
Only Stream
Crying Heaven
Burned By Love To Christ
Bittery Sweet
Naked Susan
Amber Sea
Apotheosis

1998: BEHIND THE SHADOWS

Wizard
Garden
The Last Place
Old Women's Dance
When Sun Rises For The Last Time
Summoning Of The Muse
Ghost
Embrace Beyond
Black Tunnel
Shadow
Cantara

2000: THEMES

Lovin' On The Earth
We Shall Go
My Friend Who Doesn't Exist
Theme I
In Bone Frames
Theme II
Flowers Fade Away
Eternal Cry Of Glory
Theme III
II TSOHG
Winter Queen
Hrob

2004: new album expected in September[/b]

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