Everything here is more excessive, violent, louder… The volume is not at 11, but at 20. Lithuanians ERDVE knew the next step would be to surpass the ferocity of 2018’s Vaitojimas. Which was like a kick in the teeth that no one expected. I admit to having an internal debate on whether Vaitojimas was better or worse. But empirical evidence shows Savigaila to be a more violent creature, leaving personal tastes aside.
The fact that they mix metalcore with sludge and black metal, puts them on a different platform than other bands that take hardcore to a more metallic end. And the kick-off on «Lavondemes» and that storm of blast beats, gives you the feeling that they somehow wanted to play the kind of metalcore that we can hear from American bands like JESUS PIECE or YEAR OF THE KNIFE. On their own terms and because of the unmitigated aggression they show that doesn’t leave much room for other emotions. So the verdict couldn’t be more favorable: not only could they pass as a band from Connecticut, but their Baltic DNA is also still intact.
Not everyone might like a so “in your face” production, direct and saturated. While Vaitojimas left some space to breathe, even in the most intense tracks, with this new record, and among the deluge of riffs and screams, you need to pay more attention to everything behind it. It requires more of your attention. Although, along the way certain dark aura has gotten lost, ERDVE‘s no-holds-barred approach to music and their sonic torment, are hopelessly appealing. “How extreme can we get?”.
They went from six to eleven tracks. All shorter, but with a great paradox. Which I believe has taken the band a step forward. This might sound like the Lithuanians’ music has gotten simpler and have started playing metalcore in their own way.
The contradiction lies in the fact that, despite this apparent turn, Savigaila has quite a few experimental moments. «Votis«, the third cut of the album and entirely instrumental, seems to go more into post, noise (or however we want to call it) territory, like DAUGHTERS or the revered/hated SWANS. An early break and a shock between what we have heard so far (and what it still to come).
A similar story can be told about «Pleura«. Why introduce a gentle two-minute interlude to make the experience easier, when we can do some dark ambient and be more hostile to everyone?
Plus, just to demolish any kind of expectation we may still bear, and far from the saturation and filth that reigns in the rest of Savigaila’s tracklist, they pull out of nowhere, more gentle songs like «Pragulos» and «Skilimas«, the latter being entirely composed on piano.
ERDVE‘s excess consists in reducing everything to black and white, in eliminating the middle ground. They either kick your teeth in or treat you (very rarely) with kindness and respect. Even if there is a certain pattern, the contrasts are extreme. Perhaps, and beyond that decreasing black metal tendency that is still palpable, therein lies that distinctive DNA that “separates” them from similar-sounding bands. Both sides are highlighted here, with this polarisation of the sound that is not very recommendable for the commercial world, although we insist, one is more represented than the other. At the end of the day, ERDVE is a hardcore band. But I wish all bands knew how to evolve as they have done.