All My Sins – Plamen i led (Casus Belli Musica / Beverina Productions)
Review by Milos Sebalj
Normally, I wouldn’t even consider a release like this. Let alone rush to buy it. When you announce a release containing two covers and an old song recorded again, you are running a huge risk of being accused of stealing your fans’ hard earned money for little to no effort made. But, I might just be a nostalgic figure, stuck back in the days when the phrase ‘selling out’ actually meant selling a lot of copies. Or even having a big enough fan base to have an opportunity to sell out. This certainly cannot be true for an underground band from Serbia and their latest EP, limited to 150 units. Furthermore, this is not your regular band looking to cut short the time span between albums. So, forget about any type of norm and delve into flame and ice (English translation of the title).
All My Sins is a band that traverse the fine line between primeval aggression and atmospheric enchantment, based on the Slavic pagan black metal origins. That being said, one might expect an Old Wainds’ cover. It’s a natural fit to their own style, so there are no big surprises on the second track of the EP. Unless you count the Serbian lyrics. It definitely takes an immense effort to adapt the translation for one language to another, even if the two are as similar as Serbian and Russian. So, you see, this is not a simple homage to an inspiration. The song itself keeps fairly close to the original. Better, stronger production makes all the difference, making it sound more massive and heavier. It adds a bit of warmth to the overall feeling, as well as the theme of the song.
The one very own All My Sins’ track is the closing “Where the Wild Wind Blows”. Previously released as a two piece on their second demo, the duo merged it into a nine and a half minute epic. At this point, the band displays a dose of naivety, as to be expected from an infant. Mostly when it comes to arrangements, because the songs had a tendency to ‘jump’, rather unnaturally, from one part to another. The potential was obvious, especially with regards to the creative force behind those wicked melodic lead guitars. Maybe the hiatus which ensued after the mentioned demo served a greater purpose, since the new, combined version seems to do it justice. The essence is kept and there is not a hint of All My Sins’ attempt at hiding from their inexperience from the early days. But, there is a notable connection achieved with their more recent works. The song is finely crafted with all the ‘tricks’ learned in the meantime, so that it doesn’t lack any coherence. It stands as a monument to both the roots and the current moment of All My Sins.
Now, for a surprise of the record, the opening “Ogledalo Lune”. Dark, art rock music was never much of a big thing on the global scale. You can only imagine how deeply it was hidden in Yugoslavia, back in the 80’s. Little did I know about the impact Luna had with just two years of existence and one album, limited to 920 copies. A couple of years back, the name emerged from the abyss with a biography which included a CD version of the album. Weird, to say the least. And now, the cover by a black metal band! Holy hell, was I missing out…
I’m still not a big fan of Luna and their musical and lyrical explorations, but All My Sins version is much more to my liking. Cloaked under a black metal veil, “Ogledalo Lune” gains weight, while retaining its depth and bleakness. The oriental melodies and female vocals add to the charm, making the song somewhat unusual (as it could be any different), even if it is clearly black metal. It reminded me of the latest recordings by Rotting Christ, if that helps you out. Masterfully executed cover that just goes to show the lengths All My Sins are capable of reaching.
So, despite the fears you might have attained from my introduction, this release is well worth your time and money. There’s over 20 minutes of quality music, first of all. The packaging must also be mentioned, as it is one of the finest I’ve seen in a long while. All My Sins kept the standards high. Expectations from the next album are rising. Good luck!