Year of release: 2017
Released by: Werewolf Promotion
Rating: 7 / 10
I have a fairly close relationship with STWORZ. Since about 2012, I have been closely following the band, communicating with Wojsław and even made an interview for Metallibrary. After 5 years, the contact weakened: due to a failed trade with Werewolf Promotion, I was unable to acquire a physical copy of “Wołosożary”, so I actually missed this album, already getting used to listening to STWORZ only on CDs. Then I skipped the next releases as well, and it was somehow awkward to ask Wojsław for physical copies for review. But better late than never - all the releases of the Poles that came out in 3 years, except for the rehearsal recording, are now in my collection, and it's a good moment to make up for lost time.
In the already mentioned interview I asked a question about the natural cyclicity of the full-length STWORZ albums. After “Po Czasu Kres”, which nevertheless belongs to an early and ideologically distinct period of creativity, each STWORZ album did not quite deliberately adopt the aesthetics of a particular season. “Synowie słońca” was filled with spring liveliness, “Cóż po żyznych ziemiach....” blazing with the August heat, “Zagony bogów” together with nature prepared for the cold. It is logical that “Wołosożary” should have become “wintry”. This is how it turned out, but this time absolutely consciously, from the art in the booklet to the themes of the songs.
However, if you do not understand Polish language and belong to that narrow-minded audience that perceives music only with their ears and not with their head (in that case, why are you reading Bagnik Zine at all?), it will be difficult for you to find the differences between “Wołosożary” and several previous works of STWORZ. The fact is that the overall sound picture on STWORZ metal releases from 2010 to 2018 is almost identical. Whatever the band plays, it always sounds warm. Therefore, while listening to “Wołosożary”, it is sometimes very difficult to imagine winter. The usual images of women with sheaves and sun-drenched meadows still creep into my head. Wojsław tries to direct the music in the right direction with the help of arrangements, but when only the standard set of four instruments sounds, it doesn't work out very well. The only track that is 100% cold is “Na szarych łodziach Grudnia”, because it's ambient. There is also such a moment: the longer Wojsław works, the more advanced composer he becomes. Consequently, he forgot how to write simple and characterful things, such as “Do młodzi sławiańskiej!”. Early STWORZ recordings had several calling card songs, but then the material became more difficult to comprehend, intense, slow and solid. The game “guess the album by song” is almost impossible to win if these are songs from the penultimate three of STWORZ albums. In some places, frankly speaking, the main riffs generally seem to be made according to a template: right now, the song “Niech żyje śmierc” is playing in my headphones, where the guitar part does not shine with inspiration at all. However, in such cases, acoustic fragments, folk instruments and other experienced make-up artists come into play, quickly masking the shortcomings of the song.
My words are confirmed by the fact that the most powerful song on the album is the title track, which is actually a track from the demo era. True, it was not Wojsław who wrote it, but his former colleague Mir. Wojsław came up with new arrangements, thanks to which the song turned into an epic hymn. Among other things, it stands out for its synth parts: a synthesizer is a very rare guest on STWORZ records. Just a little bit behind the title track is "Jesteśmy Słońcem", a rather simple but insanely bright piece. Another interesting moment is the cover of MAJDANEK WALTZ, which sounds almost like a glove on the album. I haven't heard the original, but this remake is undoubtedly strong. The album also includes the metal remake of a folk song, but I can't say anything good about it - it reminds me of the most unsuccessful attempts of KAMAEDZITCA in this direction. It worked better before.
Finally, I want to point out additional elements of the music. Basically, these are acoustics (it has long been well known what a powerful weapon it is in the group's arsenal) and the flute. The latter evokes contradictory feelings: enriches the sound, but all the time it plays somehow past the main melodies. I'm not saying that the flute should repeat the parts of the lead guitar, it's just that here it plays something of its own. Or it's not really well mixed. A synthesizer, alas, is rare - only three or four times, and 90% of the sound falls on the title and penultimate tracks.
The album is, as usual, released in jewel case with 8-pages booklet. The design, for which the friendly Misty Vision Art was again responsible, turned out to be beautiful and thematic, but the lyrics, unfortunately, were not delivered. Instead, on the centerfold, there is a quite romantic manifesto dedicated to the anniversary of STWORZ - “Wołosożary” came out on the 10 years jubileum of the band. Details on a video. In my opinion, this is not the best STWORZ album, but not a bad one either. It seems to me that Wojsław just felt a little stagnation, composing this final position in conventional quadrology, united by a common sound style. But all the main character traits of STWORZ are still in place: energy, liveliness, fire, a truly pagan outlook. At one time, when “Wołosożary” was still in its infancy, Wojsław thought about stopping playing metal after the release of this album, or even closing STWORZ altogether. Fortunately, he didn't, and the group continues to be very active. Wait for reviews of more current releases soon, or don't wait - just take them and listen.