On their debut full-length album, the Croatian black metal band Bednja roll out an absolutely uncompromising, forceful vision of extreme metal at just about its most relentlessly menacing. Right alongside one another, the band utilize blood curdling black metal intensity and backbreaking hardcore fury so that in a sense, their music really does end up feeling like a horror show — and it’s perfect. There’s no way out. Listening feels somewhat like the musical equivalent of almost drowning but living to tell the tale and feel the ensuing onslaught of adrenaline. The music’s sheer intensity sparks deeply rooted, volatile reactions that well up from inside.
Their mixture of that black metal atmosphere and hardcore intensity comes together quite irresistibly powerfully. In a sense, the band have truly delivered a strikingly atmospheric work, but that’s not because they’re noodling around with synths, per se. Rather, they feel like they’ve simply gone so far “over the edge” into their intensity that the rush of listening through this album feels like arriving in some miserable void, like the shock after a major injury.
Ultimately, the band deliver a dynamic elevation and exploration of a deeply personally set pain that rolls out with their utterly torrential music. There are standout moments all across this record, like on the track “Povaratk Kralja,” where they build up with dynamic atmosphere and then rush in with some of that blood-curdling, gut-wrenching black metal fury that they run with right alongside the atmosphere. That track alone — not to mention the whole album — feels devastatingly frigid. Other highlights include the point on track four where they collapse into a careful build before their fury again bursts through with an irresistible melodicism underlining the menacing tidal waves of music.
Bednja really leave no space uncultivated here. The band’s lyrics are entirely in Croatian, but — if you couldn’t tell already — that does not detract in the slightest from their power for anyone, regardless of the language they speak. They even include some quite fitting, subtly somber audio samples of apparent vulture calls towards the latter part of their new album. It’s an experience you’re not going to easily forget.
The album’s full title in Croatian is Doline Su Ostale Iza Nas. Check some out below ahead of its full release on November 29 via Transcending Obscurity Records.