By Dr. Abner Mality
You’ve been trudging across burning desert sands for days, hopelessly lost. Water is long gone. The heat beats down until the world twists and distorts...there is no up or down anymore. Your demise is near but before that final darkness, your brain will melt with heat stroke.
That’s what “Úpal” sounds like...a heat stroke in sonic form. This is not a safe album to listen to. It is extreme metal, but do not expect it to be anchored in the predictable, typical forms you are used to. It is experimental, exotic, untethered to reality.
I first became aware of KOSTNATÊNÍ about a year and a half ago, with their amazing 3 song EP “Oheň hoȓi tam, kde padl” that blew my mind with ultra-heavy death metal based on ancient Turkish music. I still think I might prefer that effort just a bit because of its heaviness. “Úpal” is quite a different beast and I would expect no less from D.L., the mystery man behind KOSTNATÊNÍ. This is a full album, for one thing, and the guitar sound is quite different. Not as thick or dense as the EP, the guitar this time is noisier, scratchier, more woozy and warped, befitting an album about the effects of extreme heat. Things sound somewhat more improvised and there is a definite influence of noise rock of the early 90’s here. The Middle Eastern and North African feel of the music is also prevalent, but KOSTNATÊNÍ approaches things in a different way than bands like NILE and MELECHESH. This is psychedelic black/death/noise metal that attacks in waves.
If you can latch on to this style...which I think many will not be able to do...you’ll find it to be quite the trip. All song titles are in Czech and hard to reproduce so I won’t try. The first two tracks establish the sound D.L. is going for and will challenge you from the start. The middle 3 songs tend to be more composed and slightly less hectic but the final two tracks are an all out attack and bring death/black metal more firmly into the fray, although no song here sounds like anything but KOSTNATÊNÍ.
The real relief that “Úpal” represents is that it is different and that is so important in this age when every single band gets product out regardless of quality or originality. There is nothing else like this band and my hat’s off to Willowtip for having the courage to sign them.