Silent Stream of Godless Elegy

It seems so easy. Take some folk, mix it with some metal, add some tribal-this, some ethno-that, heat until fused and ta-da!–awesomeness.

But as FinntrollKorpiklaaniMoonsorrow or even the relatively rougher Eluveitie prove in endless genre-mix soufflés, things usually collapse under the weight of whimsy, uneven beauty/beasting, or heavy-pretense (yes, I’m thinking of the new Agalloch‘s tendency to meander, or Swan‘s pointlessly relentless gloom). It’s also easy to imagine an imaginary Metal Dad waving a finger to the stray wussy band:  Did you remember to put some metal in your music today? No you did not–bad folk-metal! No sky-cladding for you today!

Maybe it’s 15 years of toil and trouble, maybe it’s just being smart, skilled and inspired, but the Moravian seven-piece Silent Stream of Godless Elegy fall into none of these traps deliciously. Návaz is a one-record study-guide for kids trying to learn the subgenre in garages filled with posters for those other, not-quite-as-good bands, no insult intended. A guide with balls and big-ass guitar-crunch where dulcimers add melancholy and even the violins and violas have a certain edge, playing either literally or metaphorically towards their middle range, towards the parts of the instruments that saw and soar instead of whine and complain.

Male vocals tend towards rich/clean baritones in the Amorphis mode; females from pop-ish noir to dark to semi-operatic. Everything is a good, unexpected deal. “Slava” offer a bonus-pack mix of New Wave-y keyboards, disco beats, and folk viola embroidery. “Skryj hlavu do dlaní” is a metal meditation capped by a small choir not unlike a metal version of Glee‘s New Directions lost in some spiritual dark forest. Of course, even as a nominal American (greetings from New York City!) I have no clue what the band, singing in Czech, is going on about but I rather like it that way. I like their entire raison d’etre misted. Mystery becomes Stream of Godless Elegy.

There’s drama here in spades but not the accidental camp that sinks so many of their peers. Where Nightwish might drag in a choir, Silent Stream‘s vocalists cuddle up to a mic on “Zlatohlav – Golden Head” for intimate,  two-part harmonies while the band Sturm und Drangs behind them and when was the last time you heard that?

There’s plenty of pretty here at the same time there’s nothing saccharine, at the same time there’s just the right amount of heavy metal thunder. I usually avoid it like the plague, but Silent Stream of Godless Elegy simply have good taste.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Ian Grey
January 3rd, 2011


  1. Commented by: Stiffy

    I thought this was a doom/death band. Weird.

  2. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    love these guys- had no idea they had a new one out

  3. Commented by: gordeth

    You’re right, Shane. They were more of a doom/death band on their earlier albums. I have Behind the Shadows and it’s folky doom/death. They must’ve gone full-on folk metal since then. I didn’t even realize they were still around.

  4. Commented by: Ian

    My rule of thumb on whether or not a band is doom band with folk elements or a ballsy folk metal band with dark elements is — if you have one song in waltz time with acoustics and violins, two songs intro’ed by violas, and dulcimers all over, I’m gonna bet it’s a folk metal band. :)

  5. Commented by: Ian

    Really guys, check this one out–the male-female harmonies alone are worth the money. It’s almost like Rose Kemp is singing with the guy from Amorphis in tight harmony over a for-real metal band.

  6. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    ha. “pointless gloom” from the Swans, huh?

  7. Commented by: Ian

    It does get to be a bit much after, like, 25 years, you know?

Leave a Reply

Privacy notice: When you submit a comment, your creditentials, message and IP address will be logged. A cookie will also be created on your browser with your chosen name and email, so that you do not need to type them again to post a new comment. All post and details will also go through an automatic spam check via Akismet's servers and need to be manually approved (so don't wonder about the delay). We purge our logs from your meta-data at frequent intervals.

  • Kerry King - From Hell I Rise
  • Trocar - Extremities
  • Vesperian Sorrow - Awaken the Greylight
  • From Dying Suns - Calamity
  • Volcandra - The Way of the Ancients
  • Kosuke Hashida - Justifiable Homicide
  • The Dread Crew of Oddwood - Rust & Glory
  • Six Feet Under - Killing For Revenge
  • Skulldozer - Non Stop Ruthless Crushing
  • Synestia/Disembodied Tyrant  - The Poetic Edda EP
  • Necropanther - Oblivion Jones: A Tale of False Consciousness EP
  • Sarcasm - Mourninghoul
  • Satanic North - Satanic North
  • Stygian Crown - Funeral for a King
  • Desolus - System Shock