Slavic countries and the Slavs are remarkable for the mesmerizing nature, the warmth and hospitality, the unique and delicious food and the specific mentality (we’re impetuous, rash, communicative and friendly, and yet traditional). We are also known for our mythology and folklore and the Balkan turbo folk music (for someone it’s a blessing, for someone a punishment). What many people don’t know is the “hidden” and one of the most powerful Slavic characteristics – the ability to express our emotions by merging the traditional and the modern.
I’ll dedicate this article to a few metal bands that proudly present our culture and feelings.
1. Verka – Macedonia
Verka is one of the most successful and prominent metal bands in Macedonia. The name of the band is a Macedonian old female name. The band was formed in 1999, in Delcevo. Their art is outstanding because of few factors: Verka’s metal music includes traditional Macedonian music and folk instruments (the kettle drum and the bagpipe sound celestially powerful in live events); Verka is the band with serious, deep and liberating texts and they have one of the craziest drummers on the Macedonian metal scene!
2. Smallman – Bulgaria
Not a single wordsmith can describe this band’s magic! Smallman isn’t just a music group – they are a philosophy, a set of driving emotions and spirituality. They say that the genre they play is “without borders,” and this statement isn’t far from the truth. What makes them special are the principles of their freedom. Kaval and gaida, strong riffs and bass lines, soothing vocal and a combination of experimental ambient and ethno music.
3. Riverside – Poland
Riverside slowly build its music empire across multiple European countries. A Polish band with Mariusz Duda as a front man and bassist. Also the band that recently lost their beloved member – guitarist Piotr Grudzinski, and as sad as it is – it’ll probably be the biggest inspiration (if I may say) for the next album. Riverside is a progressive rock/metal band and it is well-known for its melancholic, yet soul-lifting music. Their music is a palette of warm emotions, self-awareness, wandering, unpredictability and simple but powerful bass lines.
4. Arkona – Russia
Named by the last pagan Slavic city-castle, this Russian band is a combination of metal and folk music. Authentic for their female vocal “Masha Scream” who’s singing is known as a death growl and the Russian-folklore-inspired lyrics, Arkona are one of the most famous pagan and folk metal bands.
5. Polarity of Life – Croatia
Polarity of Life is a Croatian band founded in 2007, in Zagreb. According to them, their music is influenced by everyday situations in life and many different genres. Known for rough (by strength) but clear sounds, Polarity of Life created a debut album – and that an influential one, entitled just like the band’s name. Its content is “heavy and melodic songs” that speaks about the fight for perseverance in this mad world.
6. Avven – Slovenia
A Slovenian folk metal band that speaks of fantasy, tragic love, romance, mythology and nature. They have been formed in 2003, in Kresnice. They are known for using Irish Gaelic nicknames with deep spiritual and mythological meaning. Avven is a version of “awen” – a welsh word that means “poetic inspiration.” Their music can’t be described literally; it’s better to listen them, enjoy and absorb their art.
7. Silent Kingdom – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Truly an amazing and indescribably good band. Silent Kingdom was formed in 1999 in Sarajevo. The originality of this band lies in the fusion of “Sevdalinka” (Bosnian traditional music) and black metal. Silent Kingdom music ranges from soft, “painful” Sevdalinka through rough, complex and dark moments. Their unique content is mostly based on Bosnian history.
8. Ascendancy – Czech Republic
Ascendancy is a melodic metal band from Czech Republic that have formed in 2008. Their vocal; specific in his own way and their music; makes you feel like running through the woods. The band is known for their powerful, energetic and persistent live performances.
9. 7 Pages of Silence – Ukraine
7 Pages of Silence is a modern metal band from Kharkov, Ukraine. They are everything, but silent! The band’s genre ranges from melodic death metal to metal-core. They are known for singing in their mother language (respect!) and for beautiful, poetic lyrics. Maybe you’ll try to learn Ukrainian after you hear their music!