From the always lively and never trivial Polish scene comes the first discographic step of Elixir of Distress, a band of which little or nothing is known except that Kontynent is the result of a long gestation caused by several changes in a line-up that, precisely because of this being in constant evolution, will be made known only on the occasion of the next work. In the meantime, let’s enjoy without too many qualms this brilliant debut, based on a black metal that constantly maintains a dramatic aura that fits well with the theme treated at a lyrical level, concerning the infamous Siberian detention camps, where thousands of Poles were led and forced to work in inhuman conditions (in this sense, the cover, although minimal, gives the shivers and not only for the cold evoked by the snowy landscape). Elixir of Distress offer an interpretation of the genre that takes the best from the different schools, even if you can perceive a certain preponderance of the German one (Lunar Aurora in primis, and the use of a moniker that recalls one of the many masterpieces, Elixir Of Sorrow, something must be said) with the inclusion of certain dissonances of the most oblique black French matrix. The result is a work of frightening intensity, with a tension that does not diminish at any juncture, marked by a scream all in all intelligible, although obviously the lyrics in Polish remain the prerogative of the listeners of the mother tongue, and a melodic and atmospheric fabric that often remains in the background, sometimes finding excellent outlets in the form of guitar solos. The five tracks have an average duration of around ten minutes and are all, bar none, examples of black metal glacial, grim and at the same time engaging: the authentic milestone of the album is, in my opinion, Katorga, a track in which hovers a tangible despair expressed by a furious gait, which contains a subtle and evocative melodic line; the scheme is quite similar, even for the quality exhibited, in the rest of the tracklist, with some acoustic parentheses aimed at breaking the tragic mood, going to compose the picture of a beautiful album and that, in my opinion, is so far one of the most beautiful surprises of this 2018. Remains only the curiosity to understand who is behind the moniker Elixir of Distress, even if the outcome of Kontynent lays in favor of musicians of great depth and deep knowledge of the subject.

2018 – Winterheart Music

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