In March of this year we premiered a remarkable video for a remarkable song off the then-forthcoming fifth album by the experimental black metal band MRTVI. Entitled The ExiZentialist, the album was released last month by Life As A Dream Records, and today we premiere yet another video for yet another song off that fascinating record.
When we made that previous premiere we explained that although all of MRTVI‘s albums have been rooted in the experiences and thinking of their sole creator, Damjan Stefanović, this newest one is even more autobiographical. It was inspired by his own experience of being uprooted long ago from his homeland in Serbia (to escape from war), transported to live for roughly 20 years in the UK (where he began MRTVI), and much more recently returning to the country of his birth.
In that previous premiere we also included extensive comments from Damjan about the album as a whole and the song in particular that we premiered (“Lake of Memories“). All of that is well worth reading, but today we’ll focus on this one song that’s the subject of the video, a song called “Home“.
The song itself is, to use an old word, beguiling. The video makes it even more so, although the scenes might be unexpected, and they interact with the music in unexpected ways as well.
The opening riff makes clear very quickly how unconventional the music is. Appearing prominently over unobtrusive blasting drums, the notes grumble and ring in mysterious and inviting tones. Piano chords can be heard, along with the faint shimmer of synths, and the singing that surfaces is equally mysterious, and haunting.
A slow, musing guitar arpeggio wanders through the cycling of that opening riff, with an almost jazz-noir feel to it, but this building spell is interrupted by jolting guitars, hailstorms of of dissonance, battering drums, and scorching shrieks that shift between the channels. The main riff is still there, but encompassed by an emotional storm.
When the storm abruptly ends, windy whistling ambience provides the backdrop for a refrain of striking piano chords and tinkling keys, shifting the mood to one of melancholy introspection. The effect is hypnotic. After a pause, strange electronic tones come and go. They become increasingly frenzied and discordant — and then are suddenly severed.
We also want to share Damjan Stefanović‘s own words about the song and the video:
The music from this one came from the main riff. I didn’t really know where it would lead, as I kind of felt the blast section needed to last a while to get that meditative feel. The heavy bridge section was the second riff, and after putting together a demo I just thought, it doesn’t need anything else. The drums on the blast section are all natural, and the bridge part I used are samples of my own drums that I made.
The outro section, the piano, started almost as a joke with myself just to play around, but I ended up enjoying it too much and it became a serious section that stayed. The ambient sounds on that part were recorded by putting a mic out of my window and recording the sounds of one sunny afternoon that June.
The lyrics are simple. The first part came from the period of time where I wanted to move, or in my case return home, while the bridge section came from a conversation I had with a young friend in Belgrade who said he had the feeling that someone is pushing him away from here. There seems to be a large epidemic of young people leaving the Balkans that’s lasted so long that it’s almost expected.
The video was shot this year, this winter, around my neighbourhood. I thought, today’s a nice day, I should probably shoot some of this snow before it melts. The video actually added another element to the song for me, in that one of the houses belongs to my neighbours who recently died, and now there’s nobody there, so I guess it’s not a home anymore, just a house….
The last section of video was filmed a few years ago. It’s the forests, maybe a 5-minute walk from my house, and I thought the juxtaposition would be interesting.
I hope you like it!
The album is available now through the link below, and we’ve included a full stream of it after the links.