Serbia’s The Stone is one of the longest-running, still-active extreme metal bands in the Balkans. Originally launched in the old Yugoslavia in 1996 under the name Stone To Flesh, the band have pursued their musical inspirations for two tumultuous decades that saw the re-establishment of an independent Serbia, brutal conflict in neighboring Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, and cycles of political upheaval within the country as well. Dating back to their days as Stone to Flesh, the band have released eight albums, and their ninth one, Teatar apsurda is now set for release on December 9th by Mizantropeon Records.
Despite their longevity, I didn’t discover The Stone until 2014, in the run-up to the release of their last album, the brilliant Nekroza, and since then I’ve also become a fan of Kozeljnik, the eponymous side project of one of The Stone’s founding and continuing members (a two-part interview of him that we published this past May — here and here — provides a fascinating history of these bands, as well as metal in the Balkans).
Perhaps needless to say, I’ve been eager for this new album, and not surprisingly, it’s fantastic. We’re very happy to give you a taste of what makes it so good through our premiere of a song named “Gavranovo“.
The song surges with explosive power and riveting ferocity, but is also grippingly dramatic and intensely memorable. Blasting drums provide unstoppable propulsion, and the vicious, voracious howls of vocalist Nefas add to the song’s ripping intensity, yet from the beginning, the buzzing waves of bleak though magisterial melody, elevated by guitar notes that ring like the pealing of horns, have an almost classical-music resonance, mixed with tinges of ethnic influence.
As the song unfurls like a grand black flag, the melody seems to become even more intensely anguished, and then soars, reaching epic heights to the accompaniment of choral voices. Even as the song becomes a pulsating, grinding, whirling frenzy, the powerful hooks in the dark central melody only dig in more deeply. It’s a hell of an experience, one that displays the kind of strength and spirit (and musicianship) that make this band so good.
Teatar Apsurda was mixed and mastered by Honza Kapák (Master’s Hammer, Avenger) at Hellsound Studio, Czech Republic, who also arranged, performed, and recorded drums on the album. The front cover was created by Dragan Paunovic, with layout by WrathDesign. As mentioned, it will be released on December 9th by Mizantropeon Records.
Check out our premiere below, as well as a stream of the album’s previously released title track.
1. Gavranovo – 7:36
2. Mrtvog negativ – 5:53
3. Moj grob – 7:09
4. Nuklearan – 6:03
5. Ja, car i bog – 7:17
6. Harmonija u haosu – 6:02
7. Teatar apsurda- 8:34
Total running time – 48:37