Drekavac class themselves as a progressive black metal band, which I think means they’ve taken the harsh, blasted, dark heart of the central genre and added a twist to it. In a hugely crowded arena such as the black metal marketplace, this kind of innovation is no longer just “nice”, it’s a necessity to make your band stand out.
In fairness, the band are off to a head start in terms of blackness being – as they are – from Aberdeen. World-renowned as one of the most depressing places on God’s grey earth. I should know. I’ve been there twice. Maybe three times. I might have blocked one of the visits out. [I am so going to get it in the neck for these comments from mates who live there!]
Incipit Demonas Pandorum is their debut release, after a short demo and a line-up change. It’s a cracking piece of work as well. I’m not a world expert on black metal, but I find that a lot of material is rather samey. With such an extreme style of music it can be difficult to inject that element of originality but let me tell you that Drekavac have done it.
Amongst the blast beats and harsh vocals, there’s a clever change in rhythm here and there; choral vocals; a thirty second break with keyboard airs. Just enough to let you know you’re listening to an original act, not another clone trying to be more evil than the last band in corpse paint who just walked off the stage. Sure, the tone is always somewhat dour – that’s par for the course and I doubt you’ll ever get a black metak track about unicorns unless it focuses on their dismemberment – but it’s dour with style.
“The Plague of Man” is a good one to mention, with the addition of a second set of vocals. “Beneath a Dead Star” has interesting keyboard undertones and stabs that drift in and out of hearing range. “Ritualistic Scarification of Evil Incarnate” has some interesting guitar-work during the breaks which has a genuine prog feel to it.
Those who are more into the black metal scene may pick fault with my review or, hopefully more likely, point out further twists I’d not spotted. For the lay-person, though, this is a damn fine bit of evil mixed with a dash of the divine.