The influence of Marko Perković – Thompson in the direction of the Croatian music scene has been unquestionable over the past two decades. The native of Čavoglave- an obscure Dalmatian town that he immortalised in song in 1991- recently released his much-anticipated new album ‘Ora et labora’, which has made it to Australian shores in recent weeks.
For diehard fans of Thompson’s patriotic brand of heavy metal/rock music, this album is unlikely to disappoint, as it features ten new songs that tackle various issues that the singer deems important in the current time.
Unfortunately the album doesn’t live up to expectations and certainly doesn’t have the same quality of his previous top sellers, ‘Bilo jednom u Hrvatskoj’, ‘E, moj narode’ and ‘Vjetar s Dinare’. There is something missing in the overall sound of the album, which makes it hard to really get into, despite several listens.
Thompson has always had a message that makes up the fundamental aspects of his work, however these lyrics were usually matched with catchy melodies and guitar solos. Sadly, the words are bountiful but the music doesn’t quite catch your attention.
Some songs such as ‘Bosna ‘ and ‘Bog i Hrvati’ run for over eight minutes each, and the lyrics alone make it really difficult to fall in love with either track. It almost seems forced, as if Thompson is writing an essay without any structure but with many important and relevant things to say.
Don’t expect to find a new ‘Lipa kaja’, ‘E, moj narode’, ‘Moj Ivane’ or ‘Prijatelji’ in this album, because the metal/hard rock sound has overpowered all else. There is no room for any decent melodies, purely because Thompson seems content to preach his lyrics with his raspy vocals against the backdrop of electric guitars and church organs.
Perhaps the absence of former Prljavo Kazalište guitarist Damir Lipošek – Keks has been the main catalyst for the absence of melody, or perhaps Thompson really wants to be known as a hard rocker from this point onwards. Whichever the case, his desire to preach forcefully his views on Croatia and the politics surrounding the nation has made this album difficult to digest.
That said, a few more songs like rock ballad ‘Samo je ljubav tajnu dvaju svjetova’ and less like the opening two tracks ‘Sokolov krik’ and ‘Dobrodošli’ and this could have been a much better album that would be accessible to all music fans.
It will no doubt be a case of each to their own, however it is suggested that before purchasing this album, either listen to samples on iTunes or YouTube.
The album is available at the Zagreb Croatian Bookshop in Preston, or online at www.zagrebcroatianbookshop.com.au