Chicago’s Snow Burial are a band that deserve to share a place on the mantle of post-metal giants. Their most recent release, Ostrava, is a mammoth offering of introspective observations and social commentary. Starting with the title, Ostrava there is a message here of historical political unrest. Ostrava is a city located, presently, in the Czech Republic. It is historically significant for the fact that post WWII the German population in the area was dealt with by the heavy hand of the Soviet Union’s Red Army. Beyond the historical associations, the band have beautifully tied together there influences beyond the vast land of metal and created an incredibly well woven album of the struggles and consequences of the life and society we live in.
The opening two tracks of Ostrava are crushing calls to better understand the current and continuing forms of oppressive governmental ideologies throughout the world, and rise up against them. They also take aim at the political unrest that has occurred over the years in the United States. ‘Sever the Bloodline’ utilizes audio samples from Richard Nixon’s Presidential resignation address, and from George W. Bush’s ironic commentary on the impact that tyrannical governmental bodies have on their citizens and society. In a unique way it bolsters and galvanizes the blatant message the opens the album in ‘Tyranny.’
This same message begins to turn inward as the album progresses. The external issues begin to be reflected in one’s own mirror, and come to a blistering head in ‘Gaping Wounds.’ The outpouring of melancholic understanding of the temporal experience within society, and coming to terms with cause and effect is numbingly beautiful. It creates a cascading avalanche of raw, unbridled emotions. Snow Burial end the album on a breathtakingly heavy note with ‘The Unforgiven.’ The track encapsulates the fact no one and no organization is free from shame and guilt, and everyone is at the mercy of causality.
Ostrava is out now via Prosthetic Records and can be purchased here.
Words: Garrett A Tanner