Saluting their Slavic ancestors by name I gave this a spin and immediately thought of referencing certain bands which tied in with the bands cultural identity. The cover of this sports a heraldic shield with black eagles and dragons the name of the EP obviously spoke Poland to me. Afterwards I checked out where the band are based and call home; surely somewhere like Warsaw or Krakow? Nope well I wasn’t expecting that but Sclavinia are actually more likely to catch a ferry across the bleeding Mersey than they are to set a sailboat over the Baltic Sea as it is Liverpool they call home. I am sure they are not born and bred Scousers though as this really does reek of its heritage throughout the 22 minute seven track running time.
There is a lot of crunch and crash about the production here, the opening instrumental ‘Calm Before The Storm’ makes it clear that the band like hitting the top end and clattering away with some sharp cymbal strikes. Guitars scythe and drums pummel and we prepare to ‘Grab The Sword.’ Once we do the cut and thrust is powerful with guttural heathen vocal clamour and galloping pace. It would be a bit too easy mentioning the likes of Behemoth but they do rampage away with that sort of dynamic and atmosphere about them and this stands up and fights well even culminating in a crash of steel. Possibly as I have it in my head there is no shifting the feel of this being Polish at all and with the choppy tumult of ‘Eastern Wind’ blowing out the speakers that notion is not going away. The drums are intriguing and so are some of the stop-start instrumental parts and guitar solos, the much missed Yattering come to mind a bit and although the production does not do this the justice it probably deserves I am certainly convinced by the overall precision of the delivery. Some keyboards and tolling bells add to the atmosphere and Master Twardowski is apparently it would seem a Polish folkloric fable similar to Faust, suiting the descent into hell of the track. Finishing off the demo proper we get cawing crows and a really catchy melody on Bazyliszek and an outro and a rendition of that track as a bonus, just in case the melody didn’t latch in on your skull first time around.
I can imagine this band being pretty good live and kicking up a storm when they play in Liverpool and if I notice them listed as support at a London show I would certainly be keen to check them out. Following on from two previous demos this was a good introduction to the band and if they can stretch things to a full album in the future this is a solid foundation to build upon.
(6.5/10 Pete Woods)