Death Construction

Silkof Grove

SILKOF GROVE is a one-man melodeath band from Greece that pontificates about 'spirtualism, meditative practices, […]
June 8, 2023
Silkof Grove - Death Construction album cover

SILKOF GROVE is a one-man melodeath band from Greece that pontificates about 'spirtualism, meditative practices, inner struggles and eastern philosophy' according to Bandcamp.  Those four practices deal with the constant battle between the id, the ego and the superego, and while it might not seem to be the foundational fodder on which an album of death metal might be built, it makes sense, even if one can't identify the sense-making through the growls of pain. After all, this kind of Eastern mysticism is about accepting the pain, and dealing with it in a way that doesn't find the snake eating its own tail.  Metal, of course, is traditionally about snakes eating the tails of other weaker, frailer snakes in the time-honored, power chord driven quest for power. "Death Destruction" tries desperately and unapologetically to unite the snake within, and without.  It's a modern sounding, carefully constructed paean to those of us trying to make sense of this world one om at a time.

Title track "Death Destruction" is a well-produced, middle-of-the-road exploration of death metal.  Karatozoglou's vocals are thick and convincing, and round out the fat, heavy production of the guitars and rhythm section.  His lead guitar playing is accomplished and melodic, if not horribly inventive.  The practices of the dzogchen Buddhahood that Karatozoglou expounds are ancient, difficult to achieve, and built on collapsing the walls of dumbfoundedness.  Metal has often been maligned as the lowest common denominator of loud music, but behind that wall of Beavis and Buttheadedness is a scaffolding of intricate musicianship and attention to detail.  It's not for the mentally weak.  "No Hope" could be the album's single, if that kind of thing existed anymore. The song has an emotional core, and about half-way through breaks down into a clean arpeggio, and another melodically picked lead with sweeping ebbs and flows.  While the title evokes feelings of loss and helplessness, the vocal melody is almost celebratory.

"The Light of Existence" tromps like a stormtropper into more traditional melodic death, with intricate tonal and rhythmic switches.  Like the previous song, Karatozoglou builds the vocals and guitars into a canorous center, and drops another clean section into the resonant heart of the tune.  SILKOF GROVE's loud-soft dynamics work well in the forty minutes of metal, breaking it up into areas of deep breaths and slow exhales.  The vocals, at points, particularly towards the end, sound a bit strained, but this does lend to the desperation Karatozoglou is trying to pull out of the listener. The penultimate song "Basic Instructions" has some of the best drum work on the album. It's clear that SILKOF GROVE is loaded with excessive talent.  Some nice kick work- coupled with some deep, guttural growls, give the feeling of digging up some ancient runes of the Greek gods.  The song features another clean section with some spoken word from whom I'm assuming is the Dzogchen master Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, to whom the band dedicates the album. Karatzoglou, however, saves his fanciest work for the last song, the ten-minute opus "Destined to Decay."  It's as if the band tries to cram thousands of years worth of spiritual learning and a half-century of metal riffing into a sixth of an hour.  There's a lot that works about it- the clean parts successfully mirror the trance-like state one needs in order to achieve oneness with the universe, and the old-school death sections acknowledge how difficult it is to stay in those settings.

While clearly a labor of love and an important artistic contribution to the world of Buddhahood, in the end "Death Destruction" falls a little short in terms of memorability.  This may not be the point, really: there have been billions upon billions of breaths drawn on this tiny planet, and ultimately they don't amount to shit.  That's pretty much what Eastern mysticism gets at.  We need to acknowledge that we are a small, insignificant part of this world, and lest we learn how to breathe and think, we're doomed to falling victim to our own overactive egos.  In that sense, Karatozoglou succeeds in what he set out to do:  to take one last, dying breath before drifting off into the eternity of death.

6 / 10

Had Potential








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"Death Construction" Track-listing:

1. The Illusion
2. Death Construction
3. No Hope
4. The Light of Existence
5. Basic Instructions
6. Destined to Decay

Silkof Grove Lineup:

Sofoklis Karatzoglou - Everything

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