Quercus – Verferum

The appointment with Czech band Quercus has been repeating itself for a few years now, at least since 2014 when we talked about their second full length Sfumato. That album showed an appreciable experimental vis but not always perfectly in focus (regardless of the title), while in the following Heart With Bread the band, which became a trio with the decisive entry of keyboardist Marek Pišl, shifted the bar towards a much more evocative sound as well as rather indebted to all the funeral realities with a sound based on organ sounds (hence Skepticism, first of all). As already stated at the time, the use of the instrument by Quercus assumes substantially liturgical features, acquiring a classical touch that differentiates it in part from the more algid touch of the Finnish masters. Thanks to this fundamental contribution, Ondřej Klášterka and Lukáš Kudrna can develop the songwriting in a more linear way, trying to bring everything to a level of solemnity that touches remarkable peaks both in Ceremony Of The Night and in Passacaglia D Minor, White And Black Darkness, which pays homage to J.S. Bach. The two central tracks, Journey Of The Eyes and The Pu-erh Exhumed, appear slightly more restless and full of digressions: In the first one, even the use of the organ is much more dynamic and during these thirteen minutes there is no lack of rhythm changes and disturbed vocals that coexist with sudden melodic openings, while in the second one the clean vocals of guest Don Zaros (Evoken’s keyboardist) give everything a pinkfloydian aura within an episode definitely more rarefied and, maybe also for this reason, less incisive than the others. This fourth full length of Quercus confirms the good things already offered in the past by the Czech band, reinforcing its status as a band of value that can be placed behind the sacred monsters of funeral: probably, to climb the last step, they should be able to express themselves without pauses for an entire work with the intensity and the level of tension of a song like Ceremony Of The Night, a sort of state of the art of how the genre should be interpreted when the guiding instrument is not the guitar but the always fascinating organ.

2019 – MFL Records