1. Slovenia -- Slovenija
'Ti (Dežuje 7" EP, 1986)' - Tožibabe
Yugoslavia, a long dismantled country spread across a region the size of the state of Oregon, was home to a broad spectrum of cultures and corresponding countercultures, including very active punk and metal scenes. Slovenia, the most western (both geographically and culturally) of all the former Yugoslav republics, was home to a burgeoning scene that benefited strongly from nearby influences.
Amongst the most striking of its bands was the all-female band Tožibabe who brought a strikingly dark and nearly goth rock atmosphere to their brand of hardcore. They were included on the essential compilation Hardcore Ljubljana which demonstrated a number of bands from the Slovenian capital.
2. Croatia -- Hrvatska
'Povedi me (Sudbina, 1987)' - Crna Udovica
There's no doubt the degree of influence seminal bands like Judas Priest had on metal in general and this influence is certainly heard in many heavy metal bands from former Yugoslavia, including the hard-rockin' Crna Udovica from the coastal Croatian city Dubrovnik.
I have always felt that the southern Slavic languages aren't very well suited to this style of metal singing, which involves sustained notes, but in this case the vocalist does an exemplary job of flawless metal yowling on top of headbang-inducing riffs.
3. Bosnia and Herzegovina -- Bosna i Hercegovina
'Speed metal manijak (Bez Milosti, 1991)' - Bombarder
Ja živim svoj život, za sve ostalo nije me briga
Ne vjerujem u Satanu, ne vjerujem u Boga
Moja ljubav je buka i brzina
U mojim venama teče krv metalna
U mom tjelu je snaga nebeska
JA POSTAJEM — SPIIIID METALLLL MANIJAAAAK!!!!
I live my life, I don't care for anything else
I don't believe in Satan, nor in God
My love is noise and speed
In my veins flows blood of metal
In my body is power from heaven
I am becoming -- SPEEEED METALLLL MANIAAAAC!!
In the late '80s and early '90s, the Motörhead-inspired thrashy speed metal scene had spread to former Yugoslavia and the Big Three of this style were indisputably Evil Blood (from Croatia), Heller (from Serbia), and Bombarder (from Bosnia). My personal favorite of the three are the Bosnian speed metal maniacs Bombarder from Sarajevo. Their crowning appeal, on top of metal-devoted lyrics, is for maintaining an enduring feeling of urgency and chaos in the riffs, making you expect everything to fly off the rails and collapse entirely at any moment.
4. Montenegro -- Crna Gora
'Rotten Town (Street, Rotten, Thrash Derby, 2008)' - KK Street Bangers
As it turns out, the '90s were a dark decade for the region as a whole and left the punk and metal scenes especially crippled, with many members either dying during the conflicts, getting caught up in extreme nationalism, or otherwise dropping off the radar.
Fortunately, thrash metal is still alive in the region, as evidenced by Montenegrin thrashers KK Street Bangers from Podgorica. Their style reminds me immediately of East Coast thrash legends Overkill and I’m very pleased to see a post-millenial band from the region largely side-stepping the current fad of retreading turf American Bay Area bands have long since ground into dust.
5. Serbia -- Srbija
'Terorizam protiv dosade (Došao je kraj 7”, 1984)' - 2 Minuta Mržnje
I have often lamented the fact that I experienced the gr-80s for only a few months of my life and have no remembrance of them. These lamentations have intensified over the years as research and investigation into punk from former Yugoslav helped me discover that there was a flourishing punk scene in my hometown Novi Sad that was the subject of a documentary called Bilo jednom and a book called Novosadska punk verzija (text available only in serbian). One of the more intriguing bands of the scene was the band 2 Minuta Mržnje, a Serbian band that took it’s name from George Orwell’s dystopian classic Nineteen Eighty-Four and, very appropriately, recorded their demo in the year 1984.
6. Macedonia -- Makedonija
'Anarchy Loves to Sleep on the Floor of my Room' - FxPxOx
The Balkans, like much of the rest of eastern Europe, have long been afflicted with the nearly ubiquitous socially-acceptable vices of drinking and smoking--these activities are woven into the fabric of society and it’s almost impossible to imagine draconian Western measures against them being implemented in this region.
However, even in such a place, straightedge hardcore has made inroads and planted its pissed off XXX doctrine as best represented by the Skopje natives, Macedonian band FxPxOx--standing for ‘Forever Positively Obsessed’. Personal life choices aside, it’s gratifying to see a zest for ‘posi’ spirit in a former Yugoslav republic.
--Branka Šormaz, Web Director