The Czechs Quercus were back from an album as Sfumato, in which they had provided an interpretation of funeral doom very personal and experimental, leaving at times some questions about the real effectiveness of the operation. It was normal, then, to think about a further raising of the bar by rummaging in who knows what other musical facets to be added to a genre, which less than others, is suitable for avant-garde contaminations. When, however, the first notes of the organ appear, the instrument that will dominate the whole work, played by the newcomer Markko (born Marek Pišl, a sort of enfant prodige of the instrument), we understand that Quercus have gone back to take a decisive step forward. You say organ, in the funeral field, and you automatically think of Skepticism: the combination is not wrong, even if Markko’s approach is much less cold and funereal than Eero Pöyry’s one, exalting more the liturgical aspect than the dramatic one. Quercus, by nature, do not give up to put something of their own, so that the album is cloaked in a freshness that, paradoxically, is enhanced by the drastic reduction of steps that are not of an exemplary linearity and emblematic in this sense is the opening track, A Canticle For The Pipe Organ, a spectacular musical manifesto of over twenty minutes full of magnificent melodic openings, in which the lesson of the Finnish masters is made their own and reworked with a very personal taste. Don’t think that the Czech band has completely lost the desire to beat oblique roads compared to the genre, in fact a song like Bread And Locomotive testifies it widely, only that here the dissonance and the angularity appear more functional to the overall performance of the work. Illegible Tree Name and Silvery Morning are two other excellent tracks that move in this new groove traced by the trio of Plzeň, but it is with the final My Heart’s In The Highlands that the magic of a melancholic and solemn music is renewed again, this time not entirely from the Quercus‘ sack, since it is a reproposition in funeral key of the song created by the well-known Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Heart With Bread gets to the heart in a less tortuous way and also Lukáš Kudrna’s guitar melodies appear always aimed at creating an emotional impact, with the not secondary contribution of a growl that doesn’t give discounts, like the one offered by Ondřej Klášterka. A surprising growth, that of Quercus, both for quality and for the direction taken and we fans can only enjoy it.
2016 – MFL Records