|Classic Review: Root - Zjeveni|
Label: Zeras Records
Year released: 1990
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: July 1, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
This was the first full-length album from the superlative, singular, and uncompromising Root. Released in 1990 as the second wave of Black Metal took off in Scandinavia, "Zjeveni" (pronounced something like 'Zyevenny') heralded the debut of a major new talent, that sadly still remains largely unrecognized. Root have been punching out killer albums for fifteen years now, but they still remain terribly underground. All the better for those of us who have discovered them, as we know the secret of one of the best bands in the world.
"Zjeveni" is very advanced for a debut, though it must be noted the band had been together for three years by this point, and in fact many of the songs on this CD appeared on the "The Trial" demo the year previous. Already the heaviness, involved mysticism, and the riff-mastery that make Root special are in strong evidence. Just listen to the crunching heavy attack of the title cut, or the doom-laden stomp of "Burn Death". Root are definitely a BM band, but their influence is very old-school rather than second wave, and they sound almost nothing like the Nordic bands that started at about the same time. Root come by way of Bathory, Celtic Frost, and Venom to arrive at a sound not that far removed from Usurper – but you really can't compare this band to anyone else. Root do their own thing, and in ways, with their odd compositions and breaks for unintelligible muttering, "Zjeveni" sounds more like one long song that like a dozen separate ones. This band is just inscrutable – they speed up, they slow down, they get doomy, then more traditional. Frontman Big Boss howls, growls, bellows and intones like a man who has literally been to Hell – he sounds like no one else. Towards the end the colossal riff assault of "The Way Of…" brings the album to a sweeping, epic close.
"Zjeveni" is Root at their early best, and it stands right up there with their other masterpieces like "The Temple In The Underworld", "The Book" and "Black Seal". Even this early in their careers, Root were already masters of their craft, and they still are. Another odd, powerful, and majestic metal masterpiece from Root.
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