ADLIGA - VOBRAZY
MELANCHOLIC BLEAKNESS FROM BELARUS
Adliga come from Minsk, Belarus and sing exclusively in their native language. Their music is oppressive, bleak metallic doomy rock redolent of the despairing formative work of Katatonia and Opeth with some overtones of Paradise Lost or My Dying Bride and a backdrop of blackened ambient gaze. Vobrazy is their debut full-length album inspired loosely by traditional Belarusian folklore.
Lead female clean singing trades off with gruff, snarled male vocals but you can delete any preconceptions of the romantic ‘beauty and the beast’ template which is on trend with so many European gothic metal acts. Lead singer Katja Sidelova's delivery is far removed from the operatic seraphine style that seems to be in such demand, and is instead rawer and gutsier alternating between throat-shredding screamo hardcore and mournful folky chants.
The record’s production has little in the way of luxuriant gothic metal polish and is instead loose, organic and awash with drudged, sludgy downbeat riffs and a heavy atmosphere of psychological claustrophobia and emotional desperation. It is a remorselessly forlorn and unnervingly joyless trip throughout but there are deceivingly subtle complexities that lurk beneath with good quality builds, progressions and haunting bridges that lend to an aura of dread and nihilism. You have to take care to catch the nuances, though, as this can be an intense and discordant listen. As the band evolve over time, these half-hidden refinements could well become more enunciated in their mix to greater effect.
The use of the Belarusian language definitely compliments the impassioned sombreness of the music. The timbre of pronunciation and cadence lends well to the darkly austere aesthetic and cultural tones they touch upon. It is like an amalgamation of Slavic folklore and disturbed film noir.
Adliga play with sincerity and intelligence and their raw funereal rock has a fierce, insistent intensity. Lead singer Katja has attitude and presence and her impassioned bucolic chants help to differentiate the band’s sound - and she can shriek with the best of them. For all their tortured spiralling rock, however, Adliga are deft when they deploy subtleties and some of the more hushed moments where the harmonies emerge are the most powerful. This is rougher than Opeth’s opulence, more feral than Katatonia’s chromed sophisticated melancholy but, like these genre luminaries, there is great potential for Adliga to further evolve and develop their unique sound.
Vobrazy is relased on 5 November 2021