Thursday, 25 February 2016

Pogavranjen - Jedva Čekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem

(February 15th, 2016, Arachnophobia Records)

Seems like Croatia has a very promising predisposition of making music in their own, different way. Croatian scene maybe isn't the biggest one, but definitely among the most original ones. Every Croatian band I know has something very special about it and I often end up being mind blown by the music. True - a clever marriage of crust, death metal and... traditional Croatian instrument, tamburica. Seven That Spells - psychedelia and krautrock merged into one big pool of sonic acid. Johann Wolfgang Pozoj - a very difficult to describe avant-garde black metal with ex members of True... Yeah, Croatian scene really is something unusual. And now Pogavranjen joins this very weird company. And fits in perfectly.
   Pogavranjen are from Zagreb, Croatia, and for now they have two EPs and three LPs in their discography. To be perfectly honest with you - before listening to Jedva Čekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem I absolutely had no idea what to expect because I haven't heard anything by the band before. But now, afterwards, I know that not being familiar with their music was a big mistake. Why? Because this band is a real pearl of black metal. And their new album is the proof. If you read my Aluk Todolo review, you probably know how much I enjoy well done avant-garde black metal. Well, surprise, Pogavranjen aren't only well done avant-garde black metal... it's top-notch avant-garde black metal. First of all, it's really hard to describe their music. And probably that was the purpose. For Pogavranjen "avant-garde" isn't just some label. They indeed mix every single influence of various music in their dark, melancholic, black metal way. This isn't easy listening. But when you grasp it, you can be sure - you'll never forget this album.
   By the way, did I say anything about the atmosphere of this album? Because it deserves a statue. Pogavranjen know their black metal and from the beginning we are surrounded by darkness, sadness and obscurity. It reminds me of Monotheist by Celtic Frost, only even gloomier. Melancholy just hits you in the spine. Also, you may notice the thick cigarette smoke coming out of your speakers. It's because of the very jazzy vibe throughout the album. Pogavranjen know how music is done. They are mixing everything but in a quite subtle way. And that's what I love about them. So many influences could give me a headache, but instead I just have a desire to put this album on repeat. Jazz, psychedelia, everything mixed in a very masterful way... That's how you do a genius avant-garde album. Despite all these influences, they are still a black metal band. They know how to build a specific atmosphere; heavy, depressing and really, really sinister.
   Pogavranjen send you to the deep, dark abyss where you can't find any hope. Jedva Čekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem is a a very dark, ill and unsettling album. But also, it's very ambitious, clever and intriguing. It pushes the boundaries of black metal to something much more. When you compare this to their earlier works you can feel how they evolved and improved their music. In my opinion, Pogavranjen are great. They totally deserve to be put on the same shelf with the best bands in avant-garde black metal. This genre is a real pearl, but making this music is a hard and serious work. Pogavranjen did this and even more. This is probably one of the best albums in the genre. Do you want a mind trip into some dark, horrendous place? Take Pogavranjen as your guide.
   Frankly, this album crushed me into the ground. It's a real masterpiece, and among the best albums in last couple of years. So, if you don't know what to do now, I will tell you... Go to their bandcamp and buy the new album. You'll do yourself a big favour and provide your ears with some really fantastic music.

- Tomek

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