Croatian outfit Bednja ‘s music is very fitting for the subject matter of World War Two. The band’s new EP Ponosni U Smrti tells two different stories which frame the two different sides of the experience of combat, capturing both moments of calm reflection and overwhelming chaos. In just four tracks – two of which are mainly instrumental with sombre poems read over them – Bednja take the listener straight into the searing heart of conflict.
The two more traditional black metal tracks, which are sandwiched between the two slower tracks, are just a pure assault of the ear drums, but there is something familiar and comfortable about what they are doing. “Mrzimo Vas” starts with a back and forth between the two vocalists before a rapacious blast kicks in, while on “Ti Češ Doći U Svojoj Moći (vratit Češ Se Satane)”, Bednja show a variety of influences sprinkled throughout their music, with their vocals at times sounding more at home in a grindcore band. Some of the riffs and breakdowns feel like they wouldn’t be out of place on a Trap Them record.
And even though they cover the heavy elements with aplomb, it is Bednja’s bold decision to start and end the EP on softer tones, with closer “Ponosni U Smrti” only using a violin and acoustic guitar accompanying a haunting homage to the Balkan resistance partisans. This release finds beauty in the darkest of hours, and offers fitting commemoration to they who struggled.
Ponosni U Smrti is out now and can be ordered here.
Words: Tim Birkbeck