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The Stone - Nekroza Award winner

The Stone
Nekroza
by Erika Kuenstler at 14 September 2014, 11:13 AM

Unbeknown to many Black Metal fans, a group of exceptionally talented musicians lurk on the outer fringes of Europe, quietly working on a variety of different bands and projects, such as MURDER, MAY RESULT, and KOZELJNIK. One of my favourite of these Serbian Black Metal outfits is THE STONE, who are due to release “Nekroza” this October: their seventh full-length album since their formation under this new name in 2001. With a total play-time just short of an hour, “Nekroza” represents their longest album to date, and in my opinion, one of their best.

Starting off with an instrumental intro to the opening track “Kamenolom”, the oppressive march-like tempo is somewhat marred by the occasional (but nevertheless annoying) high-pitched “weeeeh” sound that mothers are prone to making whilst pushing their young children on the swings. However, this mercifully soon ends and we quickly forget this oddity as the intro gives way to the unique brand of rawness that THE STONE is known for. Amalgamating icy tremolo picked guitar riffs, frantic blast beats, chunky bass-lines, and gravely rasped vocals, all whilst blending in a hint of more Melodic Black Metal, THE STONE are back full force. It is difficult to point to particular highlights on the album, as each song is of exceptional quality: however, “Kosmar” undeniably really brings to shine the musical prowess of the band: fast, furious, epic, and haunting all rolled up into one, topped off with a healthy dose of guitar solo really brings the song to life. Things take a Thrashier turn on the third track, “Crno Zrno”, whilst the infectious riffage in “Dani Crni” will be stuck in your head for days, showing just how multi-faceted this band really is. The midpoint of the album sees things getting darker, faster, and heavier, with “Lov na Vestice” being another masterpiece highlighting THE STONE’s skills, and having another face-melting guitar solo thrown in for added measure. The title-track of the album starts out with a heavily bass-driven and powerful intro that swells into a fragile and tumultuous onslaught broken up by mid-tempo respites. This however soon spirals down into a slow and melancholy-filled section, resulting in yet another outstanding song.  This slow-paced darkness is taken to new heights in “Mrak”, a sepulchre-tinged composition that has stripped Black Metal to its bare elements and reassembled them into a soliloquy of death, anguish, and pain. Just as your psyche is about to shatter from the torment, THE STONE masterfully weave in a galloping and diaphanous melody of gossamer hope that glimmers just outside of your reach before fading away: a stunning opus that is perhaps the best-written Black Metal song I have heard all year.

One thing I have always admired about THE STONE is their ability to produce music that has all the fervour of Old School Black Metal without their sound becoming stale, and “Nekroza” is no exception. The recording quality on the album is also excellent: crisp and clear, without sounding overproduced or losing any of its rawness. If you like your Metal Black, raw, and brutal, then check out this album. And if you’ve never heard of THE STONE, you have all the more reason to have a listen to them: they will blow you away! German fans can look forward to seeing them headline the Bavarian Battle Winter Festival in January next year, and I for one will definitely be in the first row!

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Kamenolom
2. Kosmar
3. Crno Zrno
4. Dani Crni
5. Lov na Vestice
6. Sunovrat
7. Nekroza
8. Mrak
9. Pesimizam
10. Predgroblje
Lineup:
Kozeljnik – Guitars
Nefas – Vocals
Demonetras – Guitars
L.G. – Drums
Usud – Bass
Record Label: Folter Records
     


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Edited 03 December 2022
 

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