Quasarborn
Novo Oružje Protiv Bola


4.0
excellent


Release Date: 05/10/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Serbia's new weapon against pain.

When you hit today's demanding market with a new slab of metal under the tags of 'thrash' and 'progressive', your best hope, it seems, is that it won't be immediately received as too generic by the more knowledgeable audience, while at the same time hooking the musical interest of a sufficient amount of younger ears to make them want more, ah! so much more. The bars of technical/instrumental proficiency have been raised to exhausting defaults, hardly any genre-hybrid formulas have been left unexplored (I am looking at you there, blackened-technical-sludge/doom-progressive-neo-trad-crust-post-punk-crossover-thrash bands), so it's just down to skilful songwriting now - which, admittedly, is also largely a matter of applying generative schemes to available resources and information, following more or less predictable choices. (Yes, I have been overdoing my reading on AI.) But perhaps this has become too pessimistic a take already from someone who, despite everything, takes comfort in believing that elements of the unexpected out there will continue to feed the Potential to Pleasantly Surprise Us (henceforth: PPSU) in however small or big ways.

That said, Quasarborn's third full-length album has tropes aplenty, but mostly good ones – the ones where the sounds you know and like are arranged well and delivered with skill. The added value that makes Novo oružje protiv bola (Serbian for 'A new weapon against pain') worth more than one listen, however, comes from a set of bold choices that have proven musically rewarding. First, the focus on the technical approach which was prevalent in the two previous albums is abandoned for less complex structures and more straightforward songwriting with catchy melodies. Second, the lyrical language has shifted from English to the lads’ mother tongue. For me this is a welcome change that works in the band’s favour, as the Serbian articulation adds a peculiar expressive layer that matches well with this heavy brand of metal, as well as with a lyrical content that is mainly dark, melancholic, social-cynical and existential-philosophical in nature. On top of that, there is a moderate though regular incorporation of Balkan-oriental scales and melodic twists. These elements combine to form a well-dosed infusion of authentic emotion: in the fills and frills, chordings and phrasings, runs and leads, lyrics and vocal melodies throughout. Let’s call it pathos, but with the cringe factor reduced to a bearable minimum.

Other than that, this album just riffs massively, each track bringing memorable moments to the table. Thus, there’s the groovy downtuned riffing and cool use of pinch harmonics in the title track; the bass riffing and nice leads of “Urobor”; the infectious vocal lines of the up-tempo thrasher “Ne možeš imati sve” (‘You can’t have it all’); the powerful rhythm section and groovy bridges of “U plamenu” (‘In the flames’); the oriental scale runs and warm fusion soloing in the earworm “Prostor-vreme” (‘Space-time’); the heavy open-string arpeggios and grunt/clean vocal alternations in “Od kolevke do rova” (‘From the cradle to the trenches’). “Voz” (‘The train’, one of my personal favourites) is an excellent example of the balance Quasarborn are able to strike between almost poppy melancholic catchiness – the clean intro, the multivocal harmonies in the chorus – and crushing distortion. The instrumental “Ogledalo” (‘The mirror’) and “Menja se” (‘Changes’) seamlessly flow over into each other and form a mesmerizing two-piece that, up until the tempo acceleration in the final two minutes, stands as the album’s “To Live Is to Die”.

In a nation in turmoil that sees the larger part of its young and promising population emigrate to a better life abroad, what Novo oružje protiv bola offers to those that stay is the coping tactic of taking existential and societal anxiety at face value, moulding and translating it – through the medium of metal – into a new palpable experience, something of sublimated value: a shot of soothing musical adrenaline. (I am perfectly aware of how bombastic this sounds but hey, isn’t this what music and art in general are about?) In doing so, Quasarborn also show evidence of further PPSU.



Recent reviews by this author
Sufosia Connection FailedSoreption Jord
Toxik Dis MortaExocosm Spiral of Decay
Forte Stranger Than FictionBrave The Cold Scarcity
user ratings (12)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
DePlazz
June 10th 2023


4495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Listen here: https://quasarborn.bandcamp.com/

Band runs the real risk of remaining overlooked, but one can only hope. Thrash adepts should check their previous releases as well.

MarsKid
Emeritus
June 10th 2023


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ooo this is getting a review! Well done my man, this is definitely one of the stronger metal releases this year.

Casavir
June 10th 2023


5645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, this owns

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 10th 2023


10742 Comments


Very well written review, pos.

Will listen asap

DePlazz
June 11th 2023


4495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks peeps

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2023


18936 Comments


Nice job, have a pos. Gotta check this


StormChaser
June 12th 2023


2123 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This goes pretty hard, interesting stuff



The lyrics don't seem to be cringe either from what I could make out from 1 listen



Cool review, though I missed the "balkan scale" elements you mentioned, will have to give it another go.

So far Ogledalo into Menja se is the definite highlight of the record

DePlazz
June 13th 2023


4495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks, terminology is one of my weaker points but I guess what I meant is the use of double harmonic major scale (with the typical flat 2nds and 6ths) or some of its modes (Byzantine, gypsy, Arabic) with their characteristic half steps / semitones that give an "oriental" feel which is also common in Balkan music. It's mostly in the vocal lines, however, e.g. in the bridge in "U plamenu" from 2:41, the chorus of "Od kolevke do rova", but also in the verse/pre-chorus of "Ne možeš imati sve (0:47 onwards). It's also pretty pervasive in the final track, in both vocals and instruments.

Ogledalo into Menja se is a great two-piece indeed.

StormChaser
June 13th 2023


2123 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nah I understood what you meant, that wasn't the problem, it was my attention span or lack thereof

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
June 13th 2023


16654 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i wanna check this out, sounds cool. i love the album cover

DePlazz
June 18th 2023


4495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Definitely one of the stronger non-DM releases this year. Wish more people would check it out.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
June 20th 2023


16654 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is tight bump

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
June 22nd 2023


16654 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good bump

DePlazz
June 22nd 2023


4495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Shit's almost too listenable

StormChaser
June 23rd 2023


2123 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's pretty nice yeah, also short which I can definitely appreciate

Willie
Moderator
June 28th 2023


20214 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I finally had a chance to check this out. I love the music, but the vocals don't do anything for me. It's still good, but the vocals do detract for me.

DePlazz
June 28th 2023


4495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@ Willie I can imagine the vocals not clicking with everyone. Thought you'd like them tho.

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
June 28th 2023


26062 Comments


cool riffs but the vocals make this basically unlistenable.

StormChaser
June 28th 2023


2123 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hmm funny I didn't like the vocals either at first or second listen, but I thought that's just me cuz I generally am not too tolerant on the vocal front and won't go back to stuff if I didn't like the vox. But the music is superb and the dude grew on me, there's actually an interesting range of vocal styles from song to song. He is going ham a bit, but I like that it seems from to come from the heart, especially dig his mix of styles on Menja se. So far definitely one of my favorite metal releases of the year

DePlazz
June 28th 2023


4495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

^^yeah this

"cool riffs but the vocals make this basically unlistenable."

That's a bit of a stretch



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy