Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Siculicidium - A rothadó virágok színüket vesztik EP (2012)

Siculicidium is a Romanian act who I've been sadly ignorant of in the past, and this EP is their second release through the Sun & Moon imprint from that same country. Being largely uninformed about most of the goings on in that scene, my first impulse is to compare this material to the earlier output of Negură Bunget; that is to say, traditional raw black metal with grimy rasped vocals but loads of inherent melody and texture. Listening a little deeper reveals that the band has a clear black/punk influence to some of their songs with some ties to Darkthrone or Hellhammer, which provides some contrast to the more atmospheric tracks, and for a shorter release like this, quite a degree of variation.

There's a brighter, folksy interlude in "Várnak a varjak (the crows are waiting)" and an outro with guitars and vocals but no percussion ("Bakarasznyi mumus"), but the rest of the cuts are pretty much pure black metal. "Holnap majd felgyújtom az erdőt (I will burn the forest tomorrow)" is one of the aforementioned tracks influenced by older black metal, a simple sequence of cruel chords grooving out under the hostility of the Romanian vocals, but they throw a curve ball when they arrive at the quiet breakdown with clean guitars that later erupts into hideous laughter. There are also a few rehearsal cuts here, "Halványan az idő ellen (faintly against time)" and "A sajnálat utolsó lehelete (last breath of regret)", the finalized versions of which are present on their 2009 album Utolsó vágta az Univerzumban, so one should expect some contrast in the production levels throughout this release.

Personally, I found the first four songs on the album to represent its better side, especially the driving, anthemic mid pacer "Ökörtej" for its use of the more nasally, droning vocal timbre over the simple structure of the chords; or the opener "Zuhanás (Falling)" which has a leaden, fluid sadness about it that seems more structured and matured than the remainder of the material, thanks in no part to the subtle synth lines stretched beyond the rabid guitars and echoing grit of the vocal progressions. I'm no speaker of the language, but the band's exploration of dark and historical topics is very much in line with the sound of the music, even their very name is drawn from the 18th century slaughter of the Székelys by the Habsburgs.

Whether or not the writing here is good enough to warrant attention really depends on one's desire for honest, oppressive black metal which maintains its core, raw aesthetics and straight lineage from the niche's origins. Siculicidium do not distinguish themselves highly from the wealth of such bands out of Europe, but they do offer some decent ideas and dynamics which round out the driving, diabolic foundations of their music. I wasn't in love with what I heard on this, and there is no argument that it's comprised partly of odds and ends, but it was certainly evil enough that I'll have to make some time for checking out the full-length, because the Romanians are clearly competent for the style.

Verdict: Indifference [6.75/10]


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