Thursday, January 9, 2020

Popiół - "Zabobony" (Godz ov War Productions, 2019)

Band: Popiół
Title: Zabobony
Genre: Pagan Black Metal
Time: 58.06 min
Release Date: 27th February 2019
Vote: 92/100

There are (too!) many albums released in 2019 I still must review (if I'll have time enough to review all them, mind you!), so, for a while, you'll mostly find 2019 releases in the upcoming days to come on these pages. Meanwhile, the first one of them is "Zabobony", the debut album of a Polish band called Popiół (very useful information: I discovered through a friend of mine that the letter "ł" must be pronounced like an "u"). They released it through Godz ov War Productions (a label, a guarantee) without producing anything else after their foundation in 2017. Releasing already an album in this way is often very dangerous, especially for the younger musicians but this isn't the case of Popiół, that, strong of a twenty-year experience as single musicians, produced a debut album of a rare magnificence. It's no coincidence that I used the term "magnificence" to synthetically describe "Zabobony", also because, if you remember well, I included Popiół in the third Timpani allo Spiedo's playlist... and without forgetting that I put the album in my 2019 TOP TEN! But why is "Zabobony" so magnificent? You'll discover it really soon!

Mixed and mastered at the Satanic Audio (a studio a lot used by the Polish bands and owned by a member of Mentor), "Zabobony" is a real journey lasting even 58 minutes per 8 songs. During this timeline, the listeners will be embraced by a creative form of pagan black metal with lyrics in Polish. I said "creative" because the songs aren't only long (two of them reach the enviable lenght of 9 minutes) but are also characterized by a sort of proggy crescendos, that are often very emotive thanks firstly to melancholic melodies and an epic atmosphere.

Speaking about these crescendos in a more specific way, they are reached, as shown already by the opening song "Wybiło" (whose was shot a particular promotional video), through a changing songstructure able to range from many folk parts with acoustic guitars to stormy blast-beat passages in which you can feel a palpable and majestic fury (a strong example of this comes from "Gdy słońce zgaśnie"). In addition, all this is made more effective through a notable vocal department, that, consisting of the guitarist MAG and of the bassist Kubov (who made also the band logo), sees an alternation between raucous growling vocals and clean vocals really useful to transmit an evocative mood. As last important features helping the songs to be more and more emotive, there are a great interaction between the guitarists MAG and Bard, a participative bass (that is also well listenable in the mix) and the creative drumwork of DQ, that, among the others, is used to give life to many mid/slow tempos based on tribal tom-toms.
At this point, you surely understood that we are in presence of a various album characterized by an embracing sound in which every instrument has its own fundamental importance. But now you'll know that some songs of "Zabobony" aren't black metal-oriented songs since they are completely focused on the atmosphere and/or the folk elements. We're talking about "Wilcze jagody", an instrumental full of suggestive melodies especially played by the bass; "A kysz!", that seem to be a sort of a ritual where is an obsessive bassline and choruses repeating the title of the song throughout its duration; and, finally, here you are the closing "Czerń", a special 8-minute tour de force where are no drums and a single-riff electric guitar practically in the background. There is need to say that, already before "Czerń", there is a track that can be considered as the best one of "Zabobony": "Umarli", that has a lead guitar so fundamental to play the only guitar solo present in the entire album. Maybe "Czerń" is a bit useless since the immense splendour of "Umarli", but you have understood now that this album isn't only various and embracing but offers surprises and pure emotions until its end!

Anyway, we must finish this review because I think that this album is so amazing that you must discover it for yourself, song after song! What I can add more is that, if you liked somehow similar releases like "Pra sila - Vukov totem" by All My Sins, then it's a dead cert that you'll adore also this "Zabobony" of Popiół (that now are a quintet with a new bassplayer and a new drummer while MAG is also their vocalist along with Kubov). And so all that's why "Zabobony" is "a debut album of rare magnificence"!

1 - Wybiło
2 - Gdy słońce zgaśnie
3 - Wilcze jagody
4 - Ojcze nienasz
5 - Chmury
6 - A kysz!
7 - Umarli
8 - Czerń


MAG - vocals/guitars
Kubov - vocals/bass
Bard - guitars
DQ - drums

Godz ov War Productions:

No comments:

Post a Comment