The Croatian avantgarde narrators of psychedelic, nihilistic poetry return with the second installment of their trilogy about the saga of birth, life and death of every being.
Since their inception in 2012 in the city of Zagreb, Croatia, the Avantgarde/Sludge/Post-Metal band known as Hesperian Death Horse has been a narrator of psychedelic, nihilistic poetry that sings the saga of birth, life and death of every being, each stage envisioned as a separate album forming a trilogy after which the band will have concluded the saga and will not create any further music. Death was the theme of their first album, entitled Mrtav (Croatian for “dead”), released in 2013, while now in 2018 the band has just released their second album Živ (Croatian for “alive”), having life as its central theme. Recorded at Kramasonik Studio in Zagreb during the summer of 2017 and featuring a beautiful and ominous artwork by Snjezana Mekic Delic, Živ will certainly stimulate your senses, reaching deep inside your mind and twisting your thoughts just the way we like it in experimental and avantgarde music.
Wicked, melancholic and distorted sounds and tones blasted by the guitar trio Dario Orac, Domagoj Zunic and Marko Galetic permeate the air in the opening track Saol (Part 1: Prizma), a somber and eerie Post-Metal tune where all vociferations blend flawlessly with the already creepy music, with drummer Ivan Kukuljevic going mental with his pounding beats. However, if you think the opening track wasn’t weird enough, get ready for an onrush of demented distortions in Elu (Part 2: Voda), where the entire band puts the pedal to the metal, making the music bolder and more progressive as time goes by. Moreover, bassist Slaven Jedvaj is absolutely on fire with his intricate punches, while Ivan adds his own dosage of complexity to the music, sounding like a fusion of the madness blasted by Faith No More with hints of Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and so on, showing how eccentric their music can be.
And their lunatic feast of tones and noises goes on in Hayot (Part 3: Mezanin), another solid creation showcasing nuances of the unparalleled Progressive Metal by Tool and Mastodon. One interesting fact about this song is that the vocal lines never get too heavy or piercing, remaining as dark as possible and consequently bringing even more insanity to the overall result, not to mention they’re not afraid at all to experiment with several distinguished elements from modern-day rock and metal music. Lastly it’s in Liv (Part 4: Horde) that they get to a whole new level of experimentations and craziness, bringing forth a multi-layered Sludge and Post-Metal extravaganza (spiced up by their characteristic cryptic vocalizations) where the band’s guitar triumvirate slashes their strings nonstop while Ivan showcases all his skills behind his drum set, with the music flowing in a very eccentric and fun manner until the end.
In summary, the unorthodox and freakish Živ (available for a detailed listen on YouTube) might not be an easy listen at first for the average rock and metal fan, but if you truly open your mind to the music by Hesperian Death Horse, especially if you listen to their debut opus and to Živ in a row without any interruptions, you’ll see how entertaining the whole experience can be. Don’t forget to check what they’re up to on Facebook and on YouTube, and also to purchase Živ from their own BandCamp page. Furthermore, the third and final installment of the trilogy, and also the band’s last album, will see the light of day in late 2020 and will be named Rodjen (Croatian for “born”), having obviously birth as its core theme, which means we don’t have a lot of time left to join this Croatian horde in their quest for avantgarde music. Well, at least we’ll have Mrtav, Živ and Rodjen to keep Hesperian Death Horse’s flame burning bright even after they become just a distant memory.
Best moments of the album: Liv (Part 4: Horde).
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2018 Independent
1. Saol (Part 1: Prizma) 9:47
2. Elu (Part 2: Voda) 7:27
3. Hayot (Part 3: Mezanin) 6:31
4. Liv (Part 4: Horde) 6:19
Dario Orac – guitars, vocals
Domagoj Zunic – guitars, vocals
Marko Galetic – guitars, vocals
Slaven Jedvaj – bass
Ivan Kukuljevic – drums