Label: Seance Records
Date: December 4th, 2020
I will not bother you with Zvijer’s country of origin. It’s a long story that has little to no place in this review. I thought about it and decided against. You can find all the additional info online anyway. What I will bother you over and over again is how good this record actually is. And it is! It really is! Trust me on this and brag to your friends later about how you discovered Zvijer before they did.
Zvijer almost completely stepped out of their original description of barbaric black metal. Their second album is far away from the savage brutality, warmongering bestiality and all sorts of Marduk inspired over-aggressiveness. “Navia” is an example of combining all the factors that make black metal what it is today. From the raw 80’s to the complex 10’s. Absolutely thought-through and executed to grim perfection, show and tell about how you can make a black metal album sound fresh and almost original without reinventing the wheel.
Take, for instance, that melodic Dissection line. Complex arrangements and dissonant riffing make for some influences from the more recent tendencies in black metal. Then you have some quite thrashing parts that take the early to mid-era Teutonic input. On some songs you can catch subtle traditional Slavic frames. Almost impossible to find but they provide for the additional charm to the whole. Of course, you will find the raw aggression on occasion. A kind that is spawned directly from the Norwegian second wave. Coldness and chill have long ago become the trademark of the entire genre and Zvijer doesn’t forget about it. Atmosphere rules supreme while listening to “Navia”. This cryptic, claustrophobic feel you get from a record that does sound as if performed deep in the dungeons where the lost and forgotten dwell.
I would say that the major influence on the second Zvijer album was ex-Yugoslav black metal. You can feel some of the members’ own past projects, but most of all Serbian black masters such as May Result (though without their keyboard intake) and The Stone. To some extent the music itself, but the lyrics most notably. Lyrics are written in native language so most of you reading this will have serious trouble with them. Nevertheless, these are fine catalysts of darkness within the though process of individuals involved in Zvijer.
Having the roots set firmly within the lines of black metal, past and present, and their taste in music as broad as can be, really sets the tone for “Navia”. Having the necessary skill to make something extremely worthy with it and actually using those skills to their advantage is what should separate Zvijer from the advancing pile of second-rate black metal.
It is my opinion that only God himself can stop Zvijer becoming a force to be reckoned. But do we really expect him to interfere with the black metal scene? No! If Zvijer fails to make a significant impression on the scene, it is you, the fans of such music, who are ignorant and narrow-minded. Impressive!