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Stridulum - Burial [EP] (2020) - Review

Band: Stridulum
Album title: Burial [EP]
Release date: 25 April 2020
Label: Bat-Cave Productions
Genre: Dark Wave, Electronica, Minimal Synth

01. Λ
02. Burial
03. Unreal
04. Visceral   
05. Ω

Although only recently founded, Stridulum knows where their goal and also strength lies: “The aim is to balance a bitter world’s shallowness with deep emotions” – it is a lot about setting cathartic equilibrium by confronting opposing elements. And this is what they do: Exploring the beauty in pain and the pain in beauty, the light in darkness and vice versa, bringing together poles like the alpha and omega. This alleged dichotomy reflects the musical, lyrical and also visual work of the young band from Poland. From this delicate and harmonious complexity springs their debut EP Burial which is, without a doubt, one of the genre highlights of the year.

Stridulum is still a young musical project based in Upper Silesia formed in summer 2019. The duo, consisting of Marita Volodina (voice/words) and Arkadiy Berg (all instruments), plays dark electronic wave music, which is melancholic and minimalistic, but far from being monotonous or boring. In contrast to the musical coldness stand the highly emotive, expressive and warm vocals of Volodina, revolving around themes of despair, desire, loss and transformation. In reversing the opposites of minimalistic music and emotionally multi-layered vocals lies the project’s peculiarity. Thus, the self-proclaimed “retro-futuristic entity from the hopeless carbon fields of Southern Poland” is able to create songs that are sad but powerful, pensive but angry, danceable but moody, accessible but at the same time deep.

The EP itself includes, besides an instrumental intro and outro, three main compositions: the catchy title track “Burial”, the more forward “Unreal” and the heartbreaking “Visceral”. With only these three songs on Burial, Stridulum deliver the full spectrum between fragility and strength.

Also when it comes to musical craftsmanship they position themselves in opposition to the fast and sloppy written tunes, that can be found easily in the realms of dark electronic music. There is a strong love for detail in every aspect and especially Volodina’s touching, beautiful voice and words are captivating – a maelstrom of melancholy in all shades. It doesn’t come with a surprise, that Burial belongs to the best in minimal synth and cold wave that has been released in the last couple of years.

All in all, this debut makes Stridulum a true underground gem that will please those feeding on 80s nostalgia, lovers of catchy dancefloor fillers and wistful dreamers alike. It is hard to resist developing a little addiction to the music of the Poles – or in the words of Volodina herself in the EP’s title track: “defense makes no sense.” Absolutely true. “Burial” makes curious about more. And fortunately, the duo is currently working on their first full-length album under the working title Soothing Tales Of Escapism. Stridulum's debut EP Burial, limited to 300 copies, is available via Bat-Cave Productions or the band’s own Bandcamp page.

Review written by: Daniel
Rating: 9/10


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