|Review: The Stone - Magla|
Label: Folter Records
Year released: 2006
Review online: February 11, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Rated 4.5/5 (90%) (22 Votes)
I was already quite up on the background of The Stone before receiving this promo, as the same Serbian friend that lent me the doom band Tales of Dark demo years ago put me onto them from their first release 'Slovenska Krv'. Anyhow, I was suitably impressed with their un-orthodox brand of deathly black metal to go out and pick up the rest of their albums as and when they were released (this one included, so it's had extra long to sink in!). Starting off as Stone to Flesh in 1996, the band released a few demos and an album in a more traditional black metal vein, before changing their name to The Stone in 2000 – with their debut album under their new moniker being released in 2002.
This is the band's fourth album, 'Magla' meaning 'Fog' in Serbian, and to these ears, undoubtedly their most accomplished release yet. There are no real comparisons I can make to other bands when it comes to this album in particular, which I think is the reason I took the band seriously from the off – they're stringently not trying to ape anyone else. The Stone play such a varied style of black metal that it's hard to put your finger on any one influence, with paces changing throughout, shimmering black metal buzzing riff-work quickly flowing into brutal death metal breaks, slow booming timpani styled drum-work breaking hurriedly into heads-down blast beats and cymbal crashes – in fact the only thing that stays anywhere near consistent is the sandblasted rasping vocals. Even with all the different things going on musically, the band doesn't over-do it. The album still manages to flow pretty well, and is an enjoyable listen – the longer songs are even more significant, as with the plethora of different time changes and riff structures, it adds a slightly progressive tinge to the proceedings (it's very rare for a riff to be overly repeated in any one song, so there's always something new and fresh to hear). All the lyrics and song titles are in Serbian (although the song titles have been translated to English below), which adds a small air of ethnicity to the music (not quite on the same level as a band like, say Hate Forest or Nokturnal Mortum though, as the lyrics aren't quite so clearly understood).
Anyway, this is well worth checking out for those bored of the usual run of the mill bands churning out the same old shit year in year out. Good stuff.
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