Blasting from Czech Republic in the mid-1990’s came an animalistic band ravenous for their creations to be, firstly: danced to, and secondly: HEADBANGABLE. Combining Slavonic folk music with mid-tempo doom metal, Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy have, four albums into their career, unraveled the Grammy-winning (citation needed) Relic Dances. Radek Hadja, the only remaining original member, claims there’s a gothic overtone in addition to the other influences, but clearly in a more Romantic-era fashion rather than the eyeliner-boys cutting themselves with nail filers. No, this is for hairy-chested men and their fiddles dammit.
Overall, each song loosely follows its own stream, allowing the traditional folk influence to rush in freely. It should be noted that not only are the folk sections played passionately, but the whole band breathes new life into these sounds while staying true to the aesthetic. The heavy passages are essentially as simple as it gets, yet neither the riffs nor the improvisation lose their flair at any moment. As the punchy, palm-muted guitars chug through their 4/4 passages, without warning the accents change and the violins swerve the song to a new venture while the other instruments effortlessly follow suit. There are, of course, louder sections (I Would Dance) where the traditional instruments take a backseat to powerful rhythms of drums, bass, guitar, and the low gutturals doom fans have grown to love. Along with the screams we have two female vocalists. The ladies sing and harmonize together with the grace of falling feathers above the heavy riffing and growls. Whenever they add their parts to the songs, you get an immediate “gypsy” sentiment, especially during the acoustic Together. No matter what anyone in the band is doing at any point, whether it be the surprising variety of crescendos, violin melodies, or random catchy choruses, Relic Dances never sounds trite or, more importantly, trying to be something it isn’t.
Relic Dances has done everything right down to each folk chant, and refuses to care if you appreciate its unique take on music. Passages such as the interlude in You Loved the Only Blood, the hollow-sounding Lonely, and the extremely danceable elements of about 75% of the record illustrate that this is nothing like a gimmick because one listen of the album will be evident enough to express the feeling of how this band is doing it just like Romani nomads playing and dancing around a large campfire under a full moon. Though you may not want to run through the forest naked with this on your headphones, the point is Silent Stream pass with flying colors. Saying otherwise would leave your soul to the wolves.