The Petroleum project debuts with the solid, albeit somewhat fragmented album “Verbalia”

Petroleum is a formation in which veterans of the domestic metal scene, including Master’s Hammer and Törr, met. Under this name, the project was created in 2018, but only now, after four years, has all participants completed it. What is the final debut opus “Verbalia”?

7/10

Petroleum – Verbal

Released: 13.2.2022
Total time: 45 minutes

Tracks: Verbalia (intro), House of the Lost Souls (Pt 1.), Paradise, Butterflies, Beast, Daniel, Alexandra, Mephisto, Things Bad, House of the Lost Souls (Pt. 2)

Publisher: Black Barn Music

The album “Verbalia” was created for several years, and its preparation was affected by a serious illness. Maybe that’s why the dark veil just hides a lot of light and hope. And it’s pleasantly refreshing. At the core, the ten-piece work is a conceptual path to the title imaginary place, where “words have their own existence and living power”as the band itself describes, more precisely a music project.

The core of Petroleum – Ivo Plaček and Aleš Hrnčál – was surrounded by many guests on the record, including executive Master’s Hammer members Jan Přibyl and Miroslav Valenta, a string trio, organ player and other musicians. The arrangements are so appropriately spectacular and the album confidently floats in the waters of doom and gothic metal, the framework of the album, which is divided into two parts, “House of the Lost Souls”, does not obscure the inspiration of folk motifs. There is also growth of female vocals, alternating between Czech, English and Spanish, and even Latin. And here we come across a problem that can perhaps be guessed from the above – the collection does not hold together completely. Eventually, several songs get stuck in the memory (already the introductory framework “House of the Lost Souls”, the anthemic “Daniel”, the brisk “Mephisto”), but as a whole it is a bit shattered. And the change of languages, which does not make sense at all, does not contribute to the integrity either. And in the case of the “Alexandra” dryer, the contrast with the noble Latin evokes a very high raised eyebrow. Being “Verbalia” all in English, it’s at least a point more. Instrumentally, it is a sophisticated work full of magnificent melodies, solidly built riffs and a decent atmosphere. As a whole, however, it is very shaky and acts more like a selection of singles of various levels – excellent, but unfortunately also quite interchangeable.