Track Premiere: Zelenaya – “Spod Tego Jawora”


Brooklyn-based queer and femme folk metalers Zelenaya are announcing their new album, Folk Songs, out April 26, and are beyond stoked to unleash the third single from that record, “Spod Tego Jawora,” with us. Folk Songs is the band’s debut album.

When listening to Zelenya, expect haunting Eastern European influence, sludge, doom, even death metal. This is something you might expect to come out of Europe rather than Brooklyn, and that makes it all the more exciting and compelling.

“Spod Tego Jawora” translates to”Under This Sycamore Tree” in Polish, and it’s heavy and lilting at the same time. The band say about the track:

“A song from the Polish mountain highlanders in the southern region of Podhale, on the Czech/Slovak border, this song references infamous folk hero/Robin Hood character Jánošík, who is urging a woman to drink the water from the river—not an uncommon trope, whereupon the person offered to will usually refuse the drink, claiming that it will have some kind of negative effect on them (in this case, we suspect, falling in love with Jánošík). This one’s in the Highlander dialect, and a little hard to figure out (so this translation may not be precise), but it is full of captivating fiddle melodies that make for an anthemic power ballad. We have attempted to respect the Podhalian genre’s soaring vocal melodies, key changes, and bouncing rhythms while maintaining our typical heft, sneaking in a head-nod to metal progenitors Black Sabbath, and concluding the song with a death metal beat-down.”

There’s a lot to unpack there, but even if you aren’t familiar with the nuances of Ukrainian folk music, this is a fun and heavy song. The band have earned a name for themselves by blending mental sensibilities with folk music fro Poland, Georgia, Sebria, and other Eastern European regions, all with a weirdo, femme, and in their words “witchy” vibe and a not towards doom. We can’t wait to hear the full record.

Preorder the album here.