If you were one of the thousands who worshipped Silent Stream's godly second album Behind the Shadows, you'll be taken aback at first by the strange directions journeyed on Themes. If you persist through the pub metal, cheesy hotdog opening tracks and unlock your auditory senses for the third song, "My Friend Who Doesn't Exist," all will certainly change. Gone are several of the gentle folk textures the Czech band is known for. Instead you get a diffusion of Mental Home slap-bass and layered Moonspell crunch, nicely mixed with brutal guttural vocals and harrowing female shrieks (think the strange vocal dichotomy of "Into Others" by Amorphis). Strange indeed, but the folk melodies of early Moonspell spill their happy blackness again with "In Bone Frames," complete with lush female vocal overtones. Bow to your knees Garm, Petr Stanek's vampirical rants on "Flowers Fade Away" truly sink oness soul to new depths of darkness with their raw Carpathian energy. They succeed where others fail in this dark metal category, because unlike Moonspell, Tiamat, and countless others, SSOGE strives to produce heavier music and do in fact achieve this -- a foreign concept to most. Yes, there is a predisposition for Skyclad chants and violin hoe-downs, but the overall progression at the center of Themes clearly disguises all prior mistakes. Discover something bold and fresh, and give the blossoming Czech metal scene the attention it righteously deserves.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Hundey