Bethroned - U Razljama Zla
Self-released
Black Metal
6 songs (27'47")
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Alex

After releasing a number of demos and splits Croatian Bethroned are poised for a breakthrough releasing another EP with a multitude of ideas in it on the heels of the recent full-length.

A funeral march, Prolog intro, sets the atmosphere at both tragic and epic with a classic familiar melody, appropriate keyboards and female voices in the background. With the following pair of tracks Bethroned presents their credo of rustic weighty black metal with subtle, but not overtly emphasized, folk nature to their music. I can’t help by searching for the Eastern Slavic angle to their melodies, especially knowing that the band is Croatian (even if the Croats may not be technically Slavs they lived enough nextdoor to the Serbs to mingle). As the local flavor is rather restrained, however, the older days Borknagar and Enslaved are also rather appropriate references.

Not very diverse in the riff department, Bethroned are extremely adept in their songwriting that they are able to introduce one acoustically at the beginning of U Raskolu Vremena and then continue dressing it in layers. With their semi-folk, simple image Bethroned can be riding at the edge of repetitiveness, the song taking on a carol-like quality, bringing to mind Nokturnal Mortem of old minus the keyboard lines. Lord Vargoth vocals are hearty shouting croaks adding further to the down to Earth image the band creates. U Raskolu Vremena is both the pagan lullaby and inner soul exploration, a true representation of Bethroned spirit.

Starting with Moja Divizija, the band reaches for diversity. The track, with its thrashier moments and tempo changes, would have been more brutal if not for the mottled drums. Whereas rough hewn production was a fit on U Raljama Zla and U Raskolu Vremena, icier precision would have elevated Moja Divizija. Vlada Smrt, a short flut&harp instrumental, contributes little to the flow, except perhaps showing that Bethroned members are capable of handling instruments other than electric. The closer Bethroned is probably the band’s signature song these days, as it introduces the most fundamental singable melodious riff, bringing to epic levels the song eponymous with the band’s moniker.

Trying to jam a few too many ideas into a short impactful EP while leaving the riff foundation uncomplicated, Bethroned shows that the Balkans are a prime territory these days where talented bands are born. Bethroned music, both rooted in things indigenous and historic, is well worth your time.

Killing Songs :
U Raskolu Vremena, Bethroned
Alex quoted 77 / 100
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