1. Master’s Hammer – Jáma Pekel
Let’s kick off the theme week tonight with the most obvious choice! Obvious but yet so excellent! Founded in 1987 in Prague, Master’s Hammer has grown to the status of an indisputable icon of the Czech black metal playing an important role in the international scene. Characteristic vocals and distinctive sound made Master’s Hammer the definition of the Czech scene and acted as strong inspiration for many bands. Jáma Pekel is arguably their most recognized track first found on their debut album – Ritual, released in 1991. It’s worth noticing that the band made a successful return last year with, I think, the great album Vagus Vetus. If you want to find out more about Master’s Hammer, I recommend having a look at Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult by Dayal Patterson where he devoted a short chapter to the band.
2. Smuteční Slavnost – Národ Věčného Podzimu
Digging deep into the Czech underground music. Smuteční Slavnost is a Prague-based outfit with one full-length album in their output. Depressive aura of Smuteční Slavnost is very chaotic and untamed and if you add the maniac vocals, you get the nice composition of melancholic sounds. Their work is very diverse and you can easily tell that the band is successfully trying to incorporate different black metal subgenres into their music. The song comes from their 2013 EP album – Nářky Věčného Zatracení.
3. Dysangelium – Holykaust
Time for some quality Czech death metal. Dysangelium from Pardubice is a band which set the seal on their position in the scene only with two releases. Holykaust is a title track from their last year’s album which, as a whole, stands for rather technical riffs and fast-paced aggression. Definitely worth giving them a try! The band is also active live playing various shows in Czech. It would be nice to see them this year at Brutal Assault.
I had a look at this band because of being intrigued by the name, or rather its lack. And I must say that I am far from being disappointed. It turns out that the lack of idea can be an idea itself. ██████ or often referred to as Nic (Nothing) is a band from Plzeň and it has been formed in 2011. It is actually a job to define their music, however its highly experimental character forces me to label them with post-black metal. Worth giving it a try if you are looking for some more innovative tunes.
5.Maniac Butcher– Píseň Černých Vran
Classic stuff again! Funny enough, Maniac Butcher is one of the first black metal bands I was aware of. I never really got into their music until recently and now I finally started to appreciate it. It is a good piece of proper satanic havoc! Although the band may seem to some as a parody of themselves, their musical output is very genuine and they have gathered rather impressive discography. With a very raw and classic sound, I think that Krvestřeb is Maniac Butcher’s strongest album with a number of interesting parts making it stand out from the rest of the records. Píseň Černých Vran or The Song of Black Crows, is an enthralling composition properly grasping the major roots of black metal.
6.Mörkhimmel– Nepřítomný Nepřítel
More underground Czech music! Mörkhimmel is Prague-based band playing, as described by themselves, regressive metal… For me it is very powerful death metal with crust overtones and heavily Asphyx-inspired vocals. I really recommend their last year’s album – Ostří Černé Kosy Zní. Really heavy and faultless sound makes the whole album very rigid and nice to listen to.
7.Krabathor – Pacifistic Death
Talking about the Czech metal scene I simply can’t miss Krabathor, can I? After revisiting the band first time after last year’s Brutal Assault, I think I will finally be convinced about their brilliance. Krabathor’s importance to the death metal scene is indisputable and their first album, the 1992 Only Our Death is Welcome, has a definite status of an icon now. The 2013 reunion of the band made a lot of people happy and it was nice to see that part of Czech metal history live last year.
8.Trollech– Ve Stínu Starých Dubů
Tree-hugging black metal? This is a classic! Both song and the video. Good old Trollech! Appearing on some rankings as one of the funniest black metal videos, it still makes me laugh after all these years. Ve Stínu Starých Dubů is actually a very interesting song properly standing for the forest black metal, not only visually (oh yes!) but also musically!
9.Panychida– Rod Havrana
Hoest of Taake singing in Czech? Oh yes! Panychida is a band formed in 2004 in Plzeň and with 3 full-length albums in their discography. Not many bands really stand for pagan metal in the Czech scene. Rod Havrana is a track from their 2011 EP Woodland Journey featuring no other than Hoest on vocals. I must say it sounds confusing when you hear his characteristic voice combined with Czech language. However, it’s a great band with a lot of good energy live. Check them out for sure!
10.Cult of Fire– Závěť Světu
So we finally get to the famous Cult of Fire! With its Eastern-infused music, the band definitely stands out from the rest of the Czech scene. Their Kali-praising 2013 album, gained a lot of respect among black metallers and with its slight folk overtones such as sitar or chants, is a definite turning point for the band. Personally, I must say I find the previous album, Triumvirát, more interesting with Závěť Světu creating just the right atmosphere for me. And I obviously can’t wait to see them live at Brutal Assault!
11.Inferno– Uctívání Temné Zuřivosti
Over the course of this week, Inferno has definitely become my favourite band! This is for sure a very strong representative of the Czech scene. Having really classic sound, the band started to lean towards more orthodox atmosphere on their later releases. Uctívání Temné Zuřivosti, I think, is my favourite opus so far, although I can’t get enough of their latest record – Omniabsence Filled by His Greatness. Both albums represent completely different values and determine how the band evolved with time. I am definitely looking forward to future releases of Inferno!
12.Root– Píseň pro Satana
Classic! Root has been formed in 1987 in Brno. Although focusing now more on the heavy metal side of the scene, their first album, Zjevení, is the real root of the black metal scene. The song Píseň pro Satana is well-known to Nargaroth fans because of being covered on the famous Black Metal Ist Krieg album. Obvious satanic and occult references definitely associate Root with the black metal scene. Píseň pro Satana is for sure one the anthems of the scene!
13.Törr– Právem Silnějšího
Czech Venom? Why not! It’s another classic! Formed back in 1977, Törr is undeniably one of the most important outfits on the Czech metal scene. It is quite difficult to choose one album of the band as their extensive discography is kept to a very good level with all the records. However, I am blown away with Institut Klinické Smrti – classic sound, pure energy and obvious Venom atmosphere. What else would you need? Give them a listen and embrace the masterpiece!
14. Stíny Plamenů – Litinový Teror
Time to end the theme week with my second favourite band this week. Stíny Plamenů, or Shadows of Flames, was formed in 1998 in Plzeň and since then the band released eight full-length albums. Their theme of wastewater and sewers (yes, you read it right!) surely puts the outfit on the list of those unusual ones. Mrtvá Komora is, in my opinion, the climax of the band and, with its strong Taake overtones, is definitely to my liking.