|Review: Silent Stream of Godless Elegy - Behind the Shadows|
|Behind the Shadows|
Label: Red Black
Year released: 1998
Genre: Doom Metal
Review online: July 20, 2010
Reviewed by: Adam Kohrman
for:Behind the Shadows
Here's a band you can add to that list of bands with ridiculous names. Silent Stream of Godless Elegy hail from the Czech Republic and have a sound just as strange as their name. Bearing a Doom Metal base, the band add countless influences from folk metal, black metal, and even gypsy music (I got that one from reading about the band; it's not as if I identified such an influences). This leads to a sound unlike any other band on Behind the Shadows, complete with heavy use of both the violin and cello. Like many great albums, the songs come together into one cohesive force, into a record with a unique identity and intention. Yet at the same time, each song on Behind the Shadows has an individual identity, being an addend contributing to the sum.
If you haven't guessed already, Silent Stream of Godless Elegy don't focus on the happy moments in life. The songs are mournful, suicidal, and reflective. Radek Hajda, the band's only remaining member, had an assembly of quirky characters for this album, including the inimitable droning croak of vocalist Petr Stanek. He has many different voices on the album, ranging from the harsh and enraged to the pained and regretful. His voice truly is unmatched, sounding unlike any singer around. Countering him is the serenity of Zuzana Zamazalova, whose voice is a high pitched, angelic moan that anchors the album. When the album gets too heavy for its own good, her voice brings it into a calmer, more subdued arena, not letting it swerve into territory that may hinder its powerful themes. Backing them up is cellist Michal Sykora, whose ethnic style lends the band's sound a level of esoterica. These different sounds meld together, creating an album that flows with majesty. Behind the Shadows has both its slow and fast parts, but never loses track of its focus and themes.
This is a masterfully paced album. It begins with contemplative, sad reflection in "Wizard" and "Garden" before reaching the contemplation of suicide in "The Last Place." After atmospheric melodies in its midsection, Behind the Shadows bounces back with songs like the gloomy "Ghost" and eerie "Black Tunnel." "Shadow" begins to close out the album, and it's possibly the album's most depressing yet emotionally intense song. It is solemn and vigorous at the same time, almost summarizing Behind the Shadows in its entirety.
Silent Stream of Godless Elegy are enigmatic and unmatched in sound. No band in the world sounds like they do, and it isn't likely for there to ever be one. Behind the Shadows is their finest work. It's a marvelous doom metal creation, interspersed with myriad influences both in and out of the metal umbrella.
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