These sweet little Serbs have certainly managed to live up to their name, as they have become the bane of my week. Not because they suck, they’re actually not terrible, but because I am busy preparing for the Roadburn Festival and I don’t want to think about pedestrian black metal from Novi Sad. So let’s get down to business.
“Chaos, darkness & emptiness” is their first full-length release. It ain’t bad and it ain’t great. What it is is one of those slightly better-than-mediocre things we tend to see from bands who have respectable musical talent but little to no vision or individuality. And that is really what this album is lacking. I am always pleased to see decent bands coming from places like Serbia. And if I were in Novi Sad or Belgrade I would be happy to see a Bane performance. As far as Bane making it in the outside world, however, I think they’ll have to try a bit harder.
So what do they sound like? They sound exactly like Serbs playing Swedish/Norwegian black metal with death growls for vocals, and they execute with great competence all the same riffs we’ve heard before. It would seem that their influences might be something along the lines of Dimmu Borgir, Limbonic Art, Dimmu Borgir, Dissection, Dark Funeral (in fact, the last track is a cover of “The dawn no more rises”), Behemoth, and probably Dimmu Borgir. They are basically the Serbian Dimmu Borgir, except you’d never know it since any local essence is nonexistent.
The intro, “Awakening of the evil spirits”, is an orchestral-like keyboard piece featuring eerie choir vocals which I suspect are meant to create an ominous atmosphere. Whether or not this was successfully accomplished I cannot tell you. After 3 minutes of waiting for the evil spirits to awaken, I was busily sawing away at my wrists.
I suppose I should mention that this album consists of three chapters: Chaos, Darkness, and Emptiness. Surprise! I guess we’re taken on a mystical journey through these three worlds with Bane leading the way. But instead of passing smoothly from sphere to sphere, they take us on a rather bumpy ride with a structurally bizarre arrangement of tracks.
Moody keyboard piece, venomous (though very polished) black metal, a Metallica-scented acoustic bit, some dark melodic black metal, then another spooky keyboard saga that is indistinguishable from the intro, only this time it is nearly 5 minutes long. So it is impossible for me to claim that Bane stick to a single boring style, but I found the perpetual fluctuation to be somewhat distracting. After a few listens, I still encountered perfect boredom by track six.
With much more consideration for personality and less for shiny production, there may be a glimmer of hope for the future of Bane. But for now, I am afraid that my prognosis is that Bane of Serbia’s “Chaos, darkness & emptiness” is doomed to contribute to that ever-thickening layer of film floating atop the cesspool of slightly better-than-mediocre metal.