CD: Dagaz Music DM001 [2005]

Heights Of Despair
Discordia Orta
Iob 03
The Sign Reanimated
Antifuga 74/148 b.p.m.
Decline And Fall

Czech group Skrol, comprising Vladimir Hirsch, Martina Sanollova and Tom Saivon, are a strange commodity. Although I find their music to be a mass of convoluted contradictions there is a certain uniqueness they possess that makes hearing them as much of a challenge as a pleasure. This view isn’t shared by many unfortunately. Whenever I’ve played their previous efforts, "Heretical Antiphony" & "Insomnia Dei", to unsuspecting friends they’ve merely pulled a face and shrugged their shoulders in a manner that would make a Frenchman proud. Basically they just couldn’t see the bigger picture or get the overall vibe. I not even going to waste my time attempting to play them "Dances and Marches for the Orphan Age" because this third opus won’t change their tasteless minds. More fool them.

Trying to compare Skrol to other acts is a futile and pointless exercise as they have defined a ‘sound’ that is purely their own. The music of Skrol covers many different bases. From avant-garde experimental noise pieces through to orchestral surging swells onto slight militaristic foot stomping urges and with added strong hints of black ambience all wrapped up with lead female classical and male gruff domineering vocals. It’s this unorthodox mixture that probably puts people off fully appreciating the craftsmanship of the music. That and the fact that some of their music can, to put it mildly, freak you out completely.

Take the first track, ’Teorema’ as an example of their OTT urges. Over a thudding industrial beat and synth lines, with accompanying female wails, comes this fucking head screeching organ that inflicts more pain than any excesses produced by the likes of Whitehouse. And all from a bloody organ. Then they change tack for track two, ‘Absolution’ by going all medieval style church female soaring vocal type shit where the angelic notes hit on high. All change again for track three, ‘Heights of Despair', where thundering metallic sounding clanks go into overdrive next to…oh fuck…here’s that bloody organ again. Then another change of direction followed by another and another over the eleven tracks. Amazing doesn’t start to describe "Dances and Marches for the Orphan Age". But…and I just love butts…( not a spelling mistake. This gag is meant to be here ) …only the dedicated and open minded willing to be frustrated and accept some of the mind boggling excesses on show will get much out of it.

Scratch beneath the veneer of obstinate defiance to conform to the norm and the stimulating allure of the music is uncovered in all its glory. I like it…but then I do have impeccable taste with a strong stomach geared towards all things perplexing.


[Skrol] / [Dagaz Music]

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