When thinking of metal, some of the best bands come from the most unlikely places. That is the case with Serbia’s Ognjena Kocija (Огњена Кочија) meaning roughly “Fire Chariot” in Serbian. This pagan black metal group formed in 2009 and have only released a few singles and one demo up to date. As of last month, Pod Hrastom was released as the band’s debut full length. Without spoiling too much right off the bat, I personally was blown away by this group’s sound. There is a lot of moments that any listener will be surprised and wondering what is next on this journey through the wilderness of sound that this band perfectly conveys.
Огњена Кочија mainly tells lores of Slavic mythology while throwing in their own fusion of pagan, folk, black and death metal. Many parts of this album feel reminiscent of bands like Butterfly Temple (the old material), Moonspell (the first album), Moonsorrow, Graveland and some Kampfar all mixed and mashed together while making Огњена Кочија’s sound unique and their own. Tracks like Vatra and Božanski Boj showcase the epic sound and song structure that the group can produce. There is a generous amount of symphonic elements such as keyboards, strings and folk instruments. All of this coupled with the fast paced guitar work and raspy vocals make this feel like a heavy, epic, melodic and blackened folk style album. Each track is different and each has a different mood associated with them and that is probably the most enjoyable aspect of this release.
For a debut release from a band with a culture and country not many associate with metal music, this is truly an amazing effort. You can tell and hear all the hard work, emotions and time that Огњена Кочија put into this album. Will everyone out there like this album? Possibly not but fans of pagan, folk, black and death metal most certainly find parts that they enjoyed. This album is definitely for fans of Moonsorrow, old Moonspell, old Butterfly Temple, Arkona and just heavy pagan and folk metal with amazing musicianship and catchy melodies.
Overall Score: 9.0/10
Review by Neil Andersen