Abaddon magazine

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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Review: The Stone – Kosturnice

Label: Immortal Frost Productions

Date: March 26th, 2021

In life of one ordinary human being there are a lot of moments when we feel pessimistic, miserable and afraid. Fear is the biggest motivator but sometimes it stops us from reaching our goals. You can’t explain to yourself what’s going on. You don’t move forward and you are digging you own hole of breakdown. You are dead inside and there is no way out. Your soul is going out. Slowly, you are dying and the only thing that is waiting for you is a grave. However, four men from Serbian black/pagan band The Stone gave us some answers on important life questions. As the song “Kosturnice” says “Dubok je koren straha”. They explained, as always, what’s going on and they are masters of how to express themselves by words which hit right in the bloody flesh.

This time in my head a lot of things from the album are different. Instrumental, other singer, a bit darker atmosphere in general, even the lyrics. But one by one, let’s go from the top. “Pramaglina”, the first one we heard and as word by itself said, something before us, truth which was there before us:

“…Da l’ sam lovina il’ lovac
Kakav je to prigušeni zvuk
Kad zaluta jagnje u planinu
Nekad dođe majka češće vuk…”

When I was listening to it for the first time it was a confusing gathering of words but by these rhymes it’s all clear. In this world only strong will survive. It’s on us what will happen to us on the ugly side of the world. In the poetic of this band we are used to get dirty truth they are throwing in our faces. Next to that, atmosphere of the entire album is heavy, rough and pessimistic. Yeah, it’s black metal, you would say that’s normal but The Stone do it on one specific way.

Doom guitar riff in the background which is unforgettable in every song brings a lot to that kind of atmosphere. More melodic and musically adjusted, this album is an even bigger masterpiece then “Teatar apsurda”. Only fans will know then what level is that. I can actually hear more guitar riffs which are bloody good next to blasting drums. Vocal is much more clear and louder. Mister Glad has great vocal abilities and by his appearance on the last concert in Belgrade he showed that live too.

By the song “Omnicid” I was so delighted by the drum barrage. Speed and complicated style of playing is so remarkable thanks to Mister Honza Kapak. One of things this album will be best known for.

The subject they are telling the story about is clear death, misery and self-doubt. Kosturnice means graves or holes full of bones. It has a lot of symbolism. It can be a presentation of dead bodies, died a long time ago but also truth striped to the bones or maybe something else… They let us, the listeners, decide. From my point of view and by the lyrics it’s one philosophy lesson of death as only secure thing that every single one of us will experience. Kosturnica is waiting for everybody.  “Omnicid” is one pure example what they are trying to tell us. Death is omnipresent.

“Kraj ognjišta plač odojčeta
Vrišti čedo iz sveg glasa
I bez časti i bez glave
Na dva mesta leži majka”.

The Stone wouldn’t be themselves if there wasn’t something about the war. Glorification of our Slavic ancestors is their middle name and everyone who has ever heard about this band is familiar with “Tragom hromog vuka” or the full album “Slovenska krv”. Something similar we have here also. “Jebo pero dodaj mač” is perhaps some story from modern history but surely a vivid invitation to war. Where there are good there are bad sides, of course. As a person who likes this kind of poetry (I can freely say) there is something missing to be honest. Lyrics are not that clearly understandable, some rhymes are made just to sound and not to be meaningful. That’s a big hole of this album. For example, first rhyme of “Pramagline”, or even the entire song “me koje su razvejali vetrovi”. Besides that one disappointment from my side there are two songs in English. No doubt, they are the same quality as the rest of the album but maybe it wasn’t necessary to have them sung in English. The instrumental of “Engulfed by the Abyss” is epic and maybe the best one of all but the band is known for singing in their native language, so I think they don’t have to change that.

The cover, done by Mister Dragan Paunović is a piece of magnificent art. Three skulls holding a key and a heart. Every key and our lives are in the hands of something above which has the power much greater than human kind. Very symbolic and mystic, I must admit. I am pretty amazed by this artwork and it fits to the subject totally.

I am sure The Stone will stay on the throne as the best black/pagan band from Serbia. With or without a new release they are kings of black metal poetry. Also, I hope to see more musical videos, most of the new and previous songs deserve that.