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The Book
(I Hate Records)

ROOT has a history on their back that is mostly related to evil Black Metal on an ex-communist country and to a very special character found in their leader Big Boss, who is also the highest minister of the Church of Satan in his country... well, one album before this one, in "Kägeras" released in 1996, Big Boss decided to change in a let's say "dramatic" form the way the Metal of ROOT was created. He drifted away from the early primitive Black Metal roots, to embrace a more pure form of Heavy Metal, which uses a lot of epic-like feelings. Now the music can be related more to bands like FATES WARNING, NEVERMORE and IRON MAIDEN (just to name a few in a similar style) rather than the evil Black Metal of their first four releases. For some, this change of style was reason enough to stop buying their albums. But for others, that can embrace this as an evolution, were graced with a very competent album of dark Heavy Metal. Yes, Jiri Valter (or Big Boss) has changed his vocal style to a more operatically style, a clean, yet harsh voice with a lot of personality. The music is also very guitar orientated, although they keep it simple, and very strong, with a very efficient dual guitar work and magnificent solos. In very few cases music and lyrics have so much connection that you must understand them at the same level. This happens in 1999s "The Book" as a rule. The epic feeling is there, and even some slight references to later BATHORY can be found here and there, although I am more than certain that those are coincidence rather than an influence, but it might guide you in some of the sounds found in here. The main tempo on the album is quite a slow one, not as to say it is Doom Metal, but it does possess some references to that style. In many interviews Big Boss always stated that the roots of his music life were to be found in early Rock and Roll. The Black Metal days were molding the path to what we have here. In songs like 'Corabeau - Part Two' I can even sense some early VAN HALEN vibe. Yes, the extremists will find a hard time digesting the album. Gone are any traces of Speed or Thrash Metal. Yet, there is something that ROOT possess... for maybe any other band, such a change would be not only a failure, but a joke... with ROOT it ends up like a triumph... as the essence of the dark inspiration and the demons that haunts it all on the mind of Big Boss appears. Just listen to 'The Birth' to get a sense of what I am talking. Although this one song is more related to the Black Metal origins of the band, it blends in a perfect dark trance with the rest of the songs. To notice is the variety of vocals styles that are used through the songs. And also, something that makes even better this album is the fantastic drum work of Marek "Deadly" Fryčák. At the end we have a fantastic Heavy Metal album with a lot of Hard Rock influence, yet maintaining their roots in an obscure and evil path of music. Have ROOT been based in the USA or maybe some other European country, or maybe having a different musical background or a different marketing perspective, they should have been huge in fame. In musical creation, they are already more than that. This re-edition contains extra songs, which are basically demo versions of songs already done in this same album, which are not that important as what the re-issue really brings: to make a great dark epic Heavy Metal album available again for fans to discover ROOT. And for those stuck in their first material, if you can appreciate the darkness in here, you are in for more as the other albums released after this one are in the same league.

Julián Núńez

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