A live pagan ritual happened on Saturday night, with touches of chaos and cathartic feeling in Belgrade. I think in one sentence I said everything about a big event that happened last Saturday, but like in every good book, there is more.
Exactly twenty years from The Stone’s album called “Slovenska krv” (“Slavic Blood”), many great albums were made and published, not less nor more great, but this one is certainly the roughest album ever made by this great band. As we know from its beginnings, The Stone was oriented towards Slavic pagan subjects and also on some life truths told in a very cruel kind of way. That’s their mark in the house of Serbian metal scene. This and their specific appearance is what makes them the great ones. “Slovenska krv” gives a specific winter vibe, cold as snow but rough as war. Production was good for that time but in comparison with everything after it, the record sounded actually like early wave of Norwegian black metal. Vocals are almost impossible to understand and the music is scary and chaotic, living hell. Or better to say living Nav (Slavic word for Hell).
So, this above was a small review and now the real thing.
Many people waited since the first news about The Stone’s concert. I didn’t have hope that I would go because I live in Mordor, you know, far away, but somehow for the second time in my life I had the most beautiful neckless a young metalhead can have. A press pass. I was really honoured. And not just me and photographer Strahinja Rupnjak, but the whole Abaddon Magazine crew on this occasion. I am not bragging, but just sharing my happiness.
Dom omladine was filled with the blackest The Stone fans. I have to notice that I was one of the youngest hobbits there, trying to pass to the concert hall. Friends, family, die-hard fans and many familiar faces appeared that night in attention, to see The Stone for the first time after the plague.
Everything started on time. My biggest respect for that. There was no time to chit-chat, the audience was hungry for a good party. The first band was Terrorhammer, whose three warriors really gave everything to leave a good impression. Mister Uzelac as their frontman and lead guitarist, whose project All My Sins is also known to the audience, Mister Kuzmanović who blew the drums away and Mister Janković who really stole the show with his crazy energy only bass players have, that really warmed up the hall. Their idea is good, subject dark and music will be heard in the world I am sure. Their part of the concert started with a special long intro with dramatic classical music that gave more of a drama atmosphere and it was ended interestingly by chaotic melody that reminded me of insanity and chaos.
The Stone also started just in time and the first song with well-known introduction was “Za kosti otaca” (“For the Bones of Forefathers”). That’s actually the first song on the album so symbolically, like some call to war, this smashed us at once. Music, black metal, Glad on vocals and the audience went crazy. The entire album was presented after such a long time and one detail is that the song “Pevalo hiljade mačeva” is played live for the first time. During the song, believe it or not, people were standing still like they are listening to the national anthem. It was amazing!
The whole concert was divided into three parts, like a theatrical play. First two were dedicated to “Slovenska krv”, and the last one to songs from other albums, like “Kosturnice” (“Boneyards”) or “Tragom hromog vuka”. I am very glad that they didn’t play the most popular songs, which separates this concert from others. To my eyes, songs like “Tragom hromog vuka”, “Kosturnice”, “Bogovi od srebra” totally bought the audience. The whole band, and especially Glad (vocals), had different outfits for each one of three parts of the concert. They really gave special effort to their appearance. Clothes and make up were shocking! They owned the whole concert hall.
Of course, nothing would be the same if Mister Milan Rakić (chief of organisation crew) didn’t have an inspirational speech for us. It’s really nice and so meaningful that one band celebrates twenty years of one album.
After the show people were a little bit confused because this was not a regular concert. It was long, almost two hours, and had a specific atmosphere. Dark, pagan and rough. Slavic Gods were certainly pleased. One thing I didn’t like is that they didn’t appear one more time for an extra song on stage. I don’t know why, maybe the audience wasn’t loud enough or that wasn’t part of a plan but they should shine for one more song. Of course, with much hype and great inspiration, the entire Belgrade is thankful for this show. The Stone, on Saturday, made Belgrade the capital of pagan black metal. All hail the Gods!
Photos by Strahinja Rupnjak