Experimentation in music is never a bad thing and even when it does not come off the intent ensures a respectful nod in the direction of the attempt to be different and challenging. Covek Peva Posle Rata from Serbian musician Velibor Nikolic is a release which definitely tries to be adventurous and overall succeeds with accomplished and intriguing results in achieving its aims. It is an album which gives food for thought and evokes strong pleasure and even in aspects which do not quite find the same heights as others it is still a compulsive and enterprising piece of creativity.
A member of Belgrade post-metal/alternative rock band Brigand, Nikolic was also formerly the vocalist and guitarist of Jewy Sabatay, a band which previously thrilled our ears here. Because of that fact the album emerged as a greatly unpredictable surprise, its combination of psychedelic noise, alternative folk and acoustic rock not quite what was imagined going into the release but it is never a bad thing challenging expectations. A self release primarily, with publishing through Hi-Gain Records in Montenegro and Manekeni Bigza in Serbia, the album has a fluid and expressive wealth of invention flowing through its eleven tracks which explore the songwriting and our response. Nikolic shows himself to be an imaginative and skilled musician throughout; his guitar play and craft specially ear catching. He conjures and pulls out melodies and hooks which are insistently compelling without the need for overblown antics which makes for songs which at times are uncomplicated but ultimately infectious and daring.
To get the only niggle which emerged out of the way it has to be said at times the vocals of Nikolic struggled to connect, not always but in some songs like Miris Katrana u Prolece his stretching of notes are abrasive without relief. It should be added though in other tracks especially the rock orientated ones he is more than competent. The music itself throughout is high quality and consistently provocative to easily counter the times he has a low in his vocal journey.
The album opens with the experimental Vedrfolnir, a track which twists and scars sounds and the atmosphere with melodic and sonic ruptures. It offers a scorched ambience which sizzles upon the senses manipulating them the same way as the inventive sounds do the air surrounding the ear. Testing and roughly teasing the track is a resourceful and blistering beginning which ignites immediate anticipation and delight.
The diversity of the album is instant as the alternative melodic rock of Autsajder Trci U Prasini engages the ear with feisty melodic charm and contagious barbed hooks next. The song has a grunge breath to its presence as well as an eighties post punk air which ignites throughout for an infectious appeal. It is an absorbing track which explores its rock cored heart.
The acoustic tracks like 7234 and Pitanje take the album in another direction with ease and enterprise, the songs expressive and at times fully mesmeric even with their often salty surface, slightly abrasive yet addictive. With the vocals in his native tongue the tracks have a secret which those like us can only contemplate but the emotive edge and expressive tones make the songs books to be written by the individual.
Horizontala is a bruising rub of intensity, an eruption of metal which again leads the album down another avenue. It is aggressive and forceful, the electrified muscles of riffs and rhythms an oppressive yet magnetic lure to devour keenly. Like the album the song twists and steps into almost chaotic areas with its perpetually shifting ideas but by its end emerges as a striking and satisfying piece of invention.
The album ends on a further clutch of acoustic compositions of which Kauboj, Njegovo Dvoriste I Njegov Karton and Fosfor stand out, though all offer fine sounds and pleasing imagination. Covek Peva Posle Rata arguably at times feels like a collection of individual songs put together rather than ones linked by intent or theme but it works really well and makes for an enjoyable and evocative time in its presence. Velibor Nikolic and his album are well worth checking out and watched for further bound to be unique times.
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