|I love discovering new interesting music out of my comfort zone, and this split 7" single was an unexpectedly pleasant surprise.
Livia Sura started in 2010 as part of the D.I.Y. Underground scene in Timișoara, Romania, and describe themselves as playing "heavy music inspired by punk, crust, folk, heavy sludge blues, black metal, etc.".
Even if it's not usually my thing, I found their side of the record to be an absolutely superb track: chilling, stimulating, catchy, and very diverse. One can seldom talk about diversity nowadays, even when referring to an album (let alone one song) but indeed sometimes it seemed that it's more than one track, like a concept multiple-parts piece.
Moreover, even if it's only vocals, guitar and drums, I didn't find anything missing, the track feels complete, like a whole, and very well complemented by the female vocals. I'm not too keen on the actual vocal delivery though.
Also, considering the song was recorded at their rehearsal room, the quality of the recording is really good, probably helped also by the mixing/mastering.
I found the lyrics to be very deep and thought provoking, something that bears repeated study. A big plus is that they are in the bands' native language, but unfortunately there is no translation provided. A shame really, as I found the text to be at least as important as the sound; I could very well imagine it as a spoken word / performance type of thing.
On the other half of the single we find Hazarder from Zagreb, Croatia, a band that started in 2011, and which may or may not have taken inspiration for their name from the 1961 Paul Newman movie "The Hustler". Either that, or one of the main themes of MotÃ¶rhead. And after hearing their 2012 recorded track, I tend to lean towards the latter.
Having not much of a knowledge of the "sludge, stoner, doom" keywords that I heard being used to describe the band's sound, Hazarder's track just seemed like a really slow MotÃ¶rhead (down to the vocals, I bet they put the mike up) song to me. And very long. But I guess that's a good thing, it may very well be supposed to be like that.
At first I thought I got the RPM wrong, then wanted to change it anyway, but unfortunately the record is already at 45 RPM so no chance of picking up the speed to try to enjoy the track. That being said, I found Hazarder's song to be very haunting and hypnotic, almost numbing. Even if I didn't really like it at first, I found out that on repeated listen it sinks in, and it stays. Something like an acquired taste.
I found the English lyrics to be very well linked to the soundtrack by the rough, archaic vocals; they do a very good job in evoking the nomad lifestyle of a tribe roaming free across the land by day and dancing around the camp fire at night.
The record was released in collaboration between labels from Croatia, Serbia and Belgium to promote the bands' joint European tour of 2013. The packaging is of very good quality, with simple but effective artwork. The lyrics are very hard to read though, but I guess it's customary with these sorts of bands. Perhaps the text is not meant to be just read, but discovered and deciphered.