Title: Navia (Zadah Jalovog Svijeta)
Label: Seance Records
Release date: 04 December 2020
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Format reviewed: High-quality digital recording
Today we will brave the dark and wild forests of northwest Bosnia to explore the mysterious works of the Balkan barbaric black metal duo known as Zvijer.
The band formed in Banja Luka in 2013 to, in their words, “celebrate night and Balkanian folklore under the veil of dark”. The word Zvijer translates to ‘beast’, which has special significance in the dark lore of the Balkan regions, where beasts are believed to be active at night and are responsible for unknown nighttime sounds and disturbances.
The band consists of Knjaz on vocal duty, while Insanus takes care of all the instruments. The band has a strong, raw black metal aesthetic, however over their career they have enjoyed changing their sound and ideas. The first album was heavily influenced by the second wave of black metal but some of their other works pull from a much wider array of musical inspiration.
The new album “Navia (Zadah Jalovog Svijeta)” runs for a satisfying and soul crushing 41 minutes, and is absolutely breathtaking black metal. This album blew me away! It delivers everything that black metal can throw at you: raw and fast guitars; relentless drumming; grim, dark, and bleak vocals; changing tempos; and deep, atmospheric moods.
The album opens with an unnerving ambient prologue including buzzing flies, which I thought was an ingenious touch. Being from Australia, I was actually being tormented by a bastard fly while writing this review, so the addition of the droning fly sound was particularly real for me and added to the overall experience.
The first tracks “Svi Putevi Ka Smrti Vode MMXX” and “Moje Prokletije” spew pure aggression and are fast, rabid and ferocious. The vocals here are harsh and acrid, sounding like they were recorded from within the grave, while the rough and raw album production adds to the caustic aesthetics. As the album progresses the tempo switches back and forth which succeeds in keeping things unpredictable.
Then you reach tracks like “Cveta Tresnja”, which add a richer atmosphere and twists the mood to something menacing or sinister. Here we find ominous synth and eerie chanting vocals. Track seven “Ubistvo Ega” is the final track before the epilogue and closes the album perfectly. This track was a stand out for me and felt particularly dark.
The epilogue closes the album in an equally disturbing manner as it was opened, but this time with a distraught woman and what could be described as a disembodied demonic voice.
For “Navia (Zadah Jalovog Svijeta)”, Zvijer have pulled together all the best black metal ingredients and made a killer sound all of their own. This band is something special and I urge that tonight you seek out Zvijer, the beasts of Banja Luka, Bosnia! 8/10 Proua Metallist
8/10 To Greatness and Glory!
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