SNĚŤ – Mokvání V Okovech (2021)REVIEW

An ongoing devolution away from critical thinking unto chaotic and desperate competition supersedes a previously incognito celebration of rust, rot and mildew that’d been deemed otherwise shameful beyond the progress-obsessed force of the industrial revolution. The cult against deadly ‘progress’ is yet an fragmented, illusory vigilance. It is not the stench of dissolving iron that frightens the faux enlightened among modern ‘upper class’ mankind but the bile-stewing shame of perceived neglect that molds inhumane, rot-fearing ghouls of the privileged. With creative actions accessible as well-discerned “science” and templated progress lain readily available for fools, those injecting themselves into horrendous unthinking machines to be molded lose all power. — The mind’s equity in concert with machine learning necessitates primitive and unruly attempts to break free from excessive normative conditions. If there is no escape from categorization, infinite and incessant marketing to oversaturated production, the righteous choice is to be the corrosion you wish to see dissolve the prison of technology that builds itself around overcrowded and thoughtless civilization. A blighted collapse, the residue of neglect itself embodied via an obsession with sonic “filth” recognizable from any angle Prague, Czechia based death metal quintet SNĚŤ chose the path of slime and corrosion as they’d risen from the late plague year MMXX oozing in chains, splattering as an unthinking and unpredictable mass in presentation of their debut full-length, ‘Mokvání V Okovech‘. Representing a hobbled third generation far more mucopurulent than the last, the hope is that the short run times, gluey mid-paced movements, and a focus on the wrong brand of hardcore ultimately leads ‘new old school’ death metal bands down the path of countless riffs in most cases, and due time. In this case we’re served stylized rhythmic movement and balanced sound design tantamount in importance to the thrill of the riff-obsessed but, let’s us no longer confuse the old ways with the new normative generation herein.

Auto-translating the Czech language is generally futile in terms of actual meaning or at least any crucial wordplay yet we can get the gist of what Sněť are all about here on this debut in the same way Undergang are entirely readable in Danish as punkish, impurity rich death metal scalded by the creeping thumb of early Finnish death aesthetics (see: “Zamrzlý Vrch”) and the more directly doomed lurch of prime Autopsy. Bellowed, gargled and spat vocals communicate little more than ferality no matter how many listens deep you might be into the experience, these are animalistic and punkish statements of frustration fed through a gnarly tube, unwilling to openly share anything more profound than an extra phlegmy distempered shriek when the occasion calls for it. The best aspect of this riled performance is a great understanding of how 80’s hardcore punk, grindcore-arisen techniques and death metal align in strong harmony to accentuate this goal of “filthiness” that hangs on the on the tip of the ‘brow at all times. Stretching back to mid-2019 when their ‘Promo‘ EP landed, much of this clobber-and-wretch dynamic was readily available though I think most listeners were expecting something slightly more long-winded with the ‘ready hinted at death/doom metal influence in fuller force. Instead we’ve a rushed and less than dense 29 minutes of Sněť to chew through. As a result of this brevity the album feels about ten minutes short of a profound or, at least breakout statement. What we encounter on the voyage through the mouthfeel of their guts is yet a great time, a solid “modern” death metal album-lite with an even distribution of its excitable energetic properties via taste largely centered around modern (read: hardcorish) takes on classic forms.

Formed in 2018, boosted throughout 2019, and taking off in early 2020 before a pandemic (plus a snapped leg) cut them short of what would’ve been an EP the choice to aim for a short full-length a bit too soon means we’ve gotten a good record but not a great one. Sněť have all the right pieces in place, though they straight up do sound too much like Undergang Jr. (Torturdød guests on one song here, even), with prime artistic design touching every bit of merch and an eye-fucking painting from artist/vocalist Tomáš Mitura landing as one of the most distinct death metal frontispieces we’ve seen all year. They’ve got the generator working just fine yet when it comes to ‘Mokvání V Okovech’ delivering the goods it is an exciting record that levels out in terms of action pretty quick. Yes, in a vacuum this is damned energizing stuff that balances itself righteously between early Carcass-esque flexibility, doomed one moment and stench-grinding the next, and in todays landscape these guys undoubtedly rule but it doesn’t necessarily hold up when we start looking around for real context (such as ‘Primordial Malignity’) and land closer to Earth with considered judgment. “Demon” gives us what I’d consider ‘the goods’ in the form of a prime flood of early 90’s Finnish death metal species: A razor slice through the main phrasing of the song at high speed to start, a bounding roll-call of riffs beyond, and a doomed crawl towards a winning reprise. Very basic in form yet immediately effective work with a well placed solo and plenty of pained shrieking has me a hundred percent on board for this album yet there isn’t a push beyond this level of dynamic here that warrants endless repeat listens just yet. “Folivor” will stop anyone in their tracks with its sludgy grind in alternation with faster riffing to start but the break into a roared phrase and a simple mosh elevator around ~2:05 minutes into the song doesn’t land with any purpose beyond physical sloshing. The full listen begins to land somewhat status quo as it sinks into mind, maybe I’m numbed by the wealth of this stuff coming out every week but the over the top freakery is few and far between as we advance.

There is yet more scum on the horizon, and Sněť are not yet out of ideas as “Vesmírná Saliva” (“Space spit”?) functions as a bright idea as the album closes. Reaching the ~2:25 minute point when the churn hits and the riffs develop to a slightly more complex peak is a signal that these guys are still working on sustaining the sharper touches that make their sound something special. The solo that follows, an late 80’s Page Hamilton-esqe rock horror which is cut way too short, is something their guitarists should squeeze every bit of blood from for the sake of severity and atmospheric excess a la early 2000’s Trey Azagthoth. The horror noise they end the album with in descent is exactly the flash of brilliance you’d want at the end of a death metal EP from a band still finding its key movements in the mud. I’d had trouble seeing ‘Mokvání V Okovech’ as a fully formed and “ready” LP and honestly, to the consequence of nothing since it is a strong death metal record however you categorize it. To the seasoned pro, yeah this one has the right stuff and we can stamp it certified disgusting death metal but I know for sure these guys have a lot more of their own sound to develop and it’d be a damned shame if they settled right here in this comfort zone and enjoyed the ride. A high recommendation just because it is that fuckin’ cool anyhow.

High recommendation. (80/100)

Rating: 8 out of 10.
TITLE:Mokvání V Okovech
LABEL(S):Blood Harvest Records
RELEASE DATE:May 14th, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp [All Formats]
GENRE(S):Death Metal

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