Independent Release

Review by Vard Aman

Perhaps the only thing that can be relatively safely guaranteed when it comes to Marvel is that anything they release will be totally different to anything they have released before. This is down to the fact that Marvel have never limited themselves to any one style as a band. Marvel play by their own rules, and they are rules that they make up as they go along. This has, and continues to make them one of the most original bands out there. I described them as a musical journey when I reviewed their last EP and single, and with their new EP, “Black Stone”, their musical journey continues… following, as usual, their own GPS. Or maybe I should rather say that their GPS follows them, you just never know with Marvel. Their last EP, “Reduce My Pain” and follow up single “Naiti Sebya” were driven by impressive melodies that took the listener through a series of musical nadirs and zeniths with the raw power of the band subtly keeping it all afloat.

With “Black Stone”, the raw power of the band is now at the forefront with the melodies subtly backing it up. The music now flies over the nadirs and zeniths while the melodies serve to remind you that they’re still there. While the Alternative elements are still present, the overall sound is now far more Progressive Metal, bordering on Avant Garde, with driving guitar rhythms and drumming interlaced with some funky sounding bass lines. Olga Skripova‘s vocals have been somewhat “tamed” in comparison to the rest of the band so she is now less of a driving force and more of a riding / guiding force. She rides on top of the music like a vocal surfer, and she does it just as impressively. She has mastered control and power and now she has mastered subtlety and adaptability (not that she hadn’t mastered that before). “Reduce My Pain” and “Naiti Sebya” were both instantly likable, getting stuck in the head immediately and not getting out, even a year after hearing it. “Black Stone” takes a few listens to get into, but it grows steadily after each listen (I have “Revolution” in my head right now…. the song). As for similarities, other than Olga‘s unmistakable vocals, like “Reduce My Pain” “Black Stone” is a short, sharp 3 song blast through Marvel‘s current stage of evolution. “Black Stone”, however, could perhaps have benefited from an extra song or two, because it did leave me wanting more. Maybe that is because it required a few listens to get into, or maybe because there is less variation between the songs than there was on “Reduce My Pain” and a fourth song would perhaps have rounded it off better. Like on “Reduce My Pain”, the first song (“Revolution” in this case) incorporates remnants of Marvel‘s previous stylistic approach before completely surrendering to the new.

So, for the final verdict: well, there isn’t really one, because whether anyone regards “Black Stone” as being better, or worse, or just as good as the previous EP and single can only be decided by each individual’s personal musical tastes: powerful melodies full of crests and troughs – “Reduce My Pain”; complex driving rhythms with subtle experimentation – “Black Stone”. Going by my own personal musical tastes, I’d have to say that if I was forced to choose between the two and I couldn’t just suddenly snatch both and quickly run away, I’d probably have to go with “Reduce My Pain”. But that’s OK, because I know there is going to be someone who will hear “Black Stone” and think: “what a fool that bloke is, the new Marvel is more marvellous than ever!” And they wouldn’t be wrong.

Rating – 90/100



  1. Revolution
  2. Black Stone
  3. New Way


Line Up

  • Olga – Vocals
  • Dmitry – Guitars
  • Artyom – Guitars
  • PlushDez – Bass
  • Vlad – Drums



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