Review Summary: Still Life takes the folk ideals that Black Metal artists have been working with since the days of Bathory, and reworks them into a whole new medium.
By naming their debut album Still Life
, True have set themselves up for an uphill battle. If you are going to share your album title with one of Opeth's most revered releases then you better deliver the goods. Luckily for True, they do. With Still Life
, True have freed up the Folk Metal genre from its longstanding association with Black Metal acts by applying its overall aesthetic to good old fashioned Death Metal. The Croatian sextet have infused their brand of Entombed influenced Death Metal with the classic sounds of their Balkan heritage, but unlike the wandering medieval passages that one would expect to hear from a Folk Metal band, True have integrated their traditional instrumentation into the very core of their sound. Tracks such as 'The End' and 'Who Am I?' rather inventively showcase the tamburica, a type of lute, by letting it stand its ground alongside the grinding gear-like chug of the guitars, providing an enchanting sense of melody and filling in a space where one would normally expect to hear tremolo picked guitar leads.
Even though True have breathed new life into some rather hackneyed ideas, they are still left with one major drawback. By only working in only two speeds, mid-paced gallops and brooding interludes, Still Life
can at times end up being a bit predictable in its twists and turns, making it a somewhat daunting listen, especially with three tracks in the over eight minute range. All in all Still Life
is a refreshing take on Death Metal that takes the tried and true folk ideals that Black Metal artists have been working with since the days of Bathory, and reworks them into a whole new medium. While it at times stumbles under the weight of its attempted grandeur, Still Life
shows that True is a band brimming with potential.