Stellvris – Persistence (Self-Released)Monday, 30th October 2023
A fresh new act out of Prague (formed in 2019), Stellvris offer up their first full-length effort in the form of Persistence. The follow-up from last year’s four song Upside Down EP, Stellvris play a modern form of metal that settles nicely into that mindset. They’ve got some downtuned guitars, a combination of harsh and clean vocals, and no shortage of electronic enhancements to their throttling mix. Hot off the heels of some very strong releases within the genre this year, such as Vexed and As Everything Unfolds, Stellvris finds themselves among good company, and find a way to fill a particular niche for themselves.
Opening song “Avatar” wastes no time in showcasing the heavier side of Stellvris’ sound. With dirty, heavy riffs with plenty of groove behind them, accompanied by Nicol’s snarling growls, there’s some old school metalcore and nu metal nods that quickly bubble up, but the band isn’t about to be a tribute act. Instead, the volume and intensity is cranked up to modern levels, augmenting the band’s groove significantly (see the follow-up “Who’s the Target Now,” which grooves to near Meshuggah levels), so that even the melodic moments feel earned and play off of them better than many more established bands going the ‘harsh/clean’ route. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Nicol isn’t above some guttural bellows from time to time either, creating an even more intense feeling as the blasts and chugs swirl around her with a deadly ambience. On the other end of the spectrum are songs like “Scorpio” and “Renegade,” where darkly danceable electronic beats set a backdrop for the band to produce some eerie atmosphere before more visceral riffing steps to the forefront. “House of Cards” and “Divided” bring a more melodic sensibility to the band, though they never lose focus on bringing out those heavier riffing moments at appropriate times to liven things up while keeping it a bit catchier than the most pummeling tracks.
Stellvris work best because they are able to balance the more melodic aspects of modern metal with a scorching amount of heaviness. There’s an overall adrenaline injection and flow to Persistence that makes it incredibly digestible, with the need to listen to it over again to get that same rush once it finishes. What’s great is that the aggression sticks around on repeated listens, without giving you a case of diminishing returns. Expect big things from this act in their near future for sure, but Persistence already establishes them as a modern metal force to be reckoned with.