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Album Review: Malokarpatan – Krupinské Ohne

From what I’d prefer to visualize as the mystical woodlands of Slovakia, Malokarpatan has once again emerged to deliver a black/trad fusion imbued with a firm dedication to the first wave. But while the blueprints they’ve followed undeniably employ the same foundation as the likes of Root and Master’s Hammer, Malokarpatan fleshes out their style into something entirely unique, complete with all kinds of unorthodox instrumentals and carefully-written transitions that invoke a particularly rustic sense of mystery and spirituality. But unfortunately, for all the effort, craftsmanship, and talent that it took to create Krupinské Ohne, the album never shines as hard as it does in its most basic moments.

There are plenty of layers to pick apart and appreciate within Malokarpatan’s third album, but as interesting as the synths, chimes, and acoustic sections could be on their own, they don’t really complement the more traditional riffing bits – rather, they clash and take away some of the steam. It’s not difficult to see and genuinely appreciate the effect that the juxtaposition of everything was supposed to have, but as far as my own experience went, the variety in songwriting mostly contributed to excessive meandering and songs that were longer than they had any reason to be.

The spooky energy that Malokarpatan captured on this release once again flawlessly conjures up all kinds of visions of mysterious forest-dwellers and envelopes the listener in a cozy, little pocket of witchcraft and powers unknown. Within question, the atmosphere contributes the most. My problem is more so that there’s something to the effect of fifteen minutes here that doesn’t need to be. The band is capable of working with a wide diversity of styles and influences, and it seems that they were very eager to do so, even where it wasn’t necessarily appropriate. This is all hard to overlook, especially when it comes to how uninviting and exhausting relistens can be. But, for all its flaws, Krupinské Ohne brings a unique energy to the table and should not be overlooked.

Krupinské Ohne is now available digitally and physically via Invictus Productions.

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