All My Sins – Pra Sila – Vukov Totem
Label: Saturnal Records
Date: September 23, 2018
I remember being just a teenage Metalhead when I got a demo CD from this band. Can’t remember exactly who gave it to me, but the disc still has a place on my shelf. It was the second demo by All My Sins, and I can clearly recall my delight with the recording. Serbian Black Metal back then was still a huge unknown for me. It didn’t take me long to delve deeper into the subject at hand.
Unfortunately that demo marked the beginning of a decade long hiatus for All My Sins. On the other hand, that fact left a lot of free time for the leader of the band to engage in a number of bands that offered more than enough good music behind.
All My Sins is back with the debut full-length album. I wasn’t too impressed with the first notes to come from the speakers. The opener gave me the impression of two songs merged into one, yet without too much thought to it. Fierce Black Thrashing madness combined with raw atmospheric parts left me wondering a bit. All that put into almost 10 minutes of music. Too much for my taste.
However, what came next was a touch off mind-blowing. Already the second track, “Zov iz Magle” (“A call from the fog”), came with brilliant riffing in the old Scandinavian vein, perfectly arranged with the help of fairly diverse drumming. Traditional screams are complemented with fine clean vocals to create the Pagan touch that has the lead role when it comes to the overall thematic of the release. At this place I must express my condolences to the people who don’t understand Serbian because the lyrical side of the album has a big influence on the general feeling behind the music.
“Vetrovo Kolo” (again, sorry, cannot translate this to English to make it sound good enough) continues the style of the previous song. Raw, but not the least bit primitive, Black Metal. Rhythm changes and guitar work keep the attention glued to the sounds, which is very important since the songs are usually long.
Next one brings back the connotations with Terrorhammer (another band by the leader of All My Sins) or their countrymen from Wolf’s Hunger. Fast, Thrashy Black Metal from the beginning to the end leaves a much better impression than in the first track. Yet, I still have a feeling it is a bit out of place on this album.
The remainder of the album has no unexpected surprises. Just good music. Starting with “Opsena” which carries an influence from the traditional Folk music, but not in the sense where it is all song and dance. This is just a rhythmical play through as a backbone of a Black Metal song that sounds very innovative and doesn’t want to leave your mind long after the music has stopped.
A short interlude “Mesecu u Oko” carries us into the two-part closer of the album. While part one stands as a classical Black Metal track, the second one opens with the acoustic introduction to rise into an atmospheric finale, that brilliantly closes this album.
I have spoken of the rawness a couple of times, yet it doesn’t mean this album was recorded on a long-dead tape deck to cover the incompetence of the musicians. Production on this record can easily stand alongside the best of the genre. The said rawness comes from the cold feeing that surrounds the entire album.
As you can see, there is a lot going on here. At times, it feels a bit incoherent. But… Even the Black/Thrash moments sound great! Maybe out of place, but still nice headbangers. The rest of the songs are also top notch. The cover is very imaginative. This album was worth the wait. Could be better, but still well above the average, almost bordering on brilliance.