PETOFI‘s fourth EP, Levelek a föld alól (Leaves from the ground in English) was released in mid-April. With this record the band from Nyíregyháza has sailed to new waters, throwing us into the Sea of Sorrow in a different way than before. After a long break following the previous EP, let’s take a deep breath and see what lies beneath the surface!
Band: PETOFI (HU) EP: Levelek a föld alól (2023) Genre(s): Melodic hardcore, post-hardcore
The backstory of “PETOFI”:
PETOFI is a band from Nyíregyháza, formed in 2013. The debut songs Téltemető and Bányák, released in 2013, were the cornerstones of the band’s direction at that time, noisy melancholic songs with metalcore and hardcore elements with Hungarian lyrics. At the 2013 Gumizsiráf Awards (hosted by Kettőnégy), the band was voted Young Titans of the Year. In May 2014, the first EP, a six-track record entitled Hanyatlás, was released, which also included the debut songs. The band started to tour nationwide this year, mainly with the band Téveszme.
During these years the band has played all over the country, they went on tour with Blind Myself and opened for foreign bands such as Stick To Your Guns, Enter Shikari, Defeater and Counterparts.
After the release of the single Sorsüldözött in the summer of 2018, singer Bence Mezei and the band parted ways, but Bence is still actively involved in the visual and other graphic design processes of the band (posters, merch graphics, etc.).
After the release of the 2019 album, new songs were written continuously, and in 2023, after a long period of preparation and recording, the band went to SuperSize Recordings in Törökbálint for the first time in their career, where they recorded their latest four-song record “Levelek a föld alól“. Dexter (Elefánt, Analog Balaton, Beton Hofi, Vad Fruttik) was responsible for the recording and producing, who took the recording and songwriting process to a new level with his exceptional ideas and extensive experience.
Hanyatlás (2014) - EP Árnyunk Az Égbolt (2015) - EP Sorsüldözött (2018) - Single Rossz döntések naplója (2019) - EP Levelek a föld alól (2023) - EP
Péter Pór - vocals Zoltán Tomasovszki - guitar László Ádám Szabó - guitar Bence Mile - bass András Smid - drums
What should you know about the tracks featured on the EP? Where did the inspiration for the lyrics come from, what themes were given more attention?
“We started working on the songs in 2020. After a lengthy demo process, we went to SuperSize Recordning Studio in Törökbálint to record the songs with Dexter, who has worked with Analog Balaton, Elefánt and Beton Hofi, among others. Dexter massively raised the quality of the time we spent in the studio, as his dedication and professionalism as a producer improved the songs a lot and opened up new possibilities in songwriting that we had never seen before.
As we have written sad lyrics throughout our lives, we didn’t want to change direction this time either. If anyone thinks we’re depressed in real life, we’d like to reassure them that we’re not, so come to a concert and see us at the bar. You’ll know that we’re fine.:) However, part of the truth is that the songs and lyrics help us to express our darker thoughts, or to process the loss of a loved one in this way.”
Is there any song in particular that you would like to highlight?
“Every song has something special that makes it very close to our hearts. What’s for sure is that this is the first EP that we play live entirely, song by song.”
The song you don’t want to miss: “Réveteg”
Although I finally decided to highlight Réveteg, as you can see, it wouldn’t be fair not to point out how difficult of a choice it was. Komorebi, with its refrain, its atmospheric music video and its heart-wrenching lyrics, deserves a separate paragraph of its own. But now, let’s talk about why it would be a mistake to skip Réveteg! From the first second to the last, the song is a strong reason to check out the whole EP. The typical melodic hardcore blend of guitar playing, the mesmerizing vocals, the more post-hardcore like, shouty sections that take over the clean vocals, and the drumming that gives the song its fullness and embraces the pulsation, all capture the beauty of the genres mentioned above. I particularly like this mixed identity, as both melodic hardcore and post-hardcore are very close to me, and it’s always nice to hear that a song based on these roots can work well in Hungarian. The chorus is melancholic and relentless, but it also has a sense of energy to it, making it a more intense experience. Lyrically, the verses are diverse and creative, although I can’t say that the rest of PETOFI’s songs seem to lack this. The four-and-a-half minutes of Réveteg quickly pass over us, but it returns even more powerfully after each listening to wash everything away like a tidal wave. Keeping with the order of the EP’s songs, let this be the beginning rather than the end (for this role, we have Posztó anyway).
Why can “Levelek a föld alól” be your EP? What else is on the record beyond Réveteg and the also highlighted Komorebi? The second track of the EP, Szürke (Grey), brings most of what longtime followers of the band are looking for. It’s a concept that reminds us of the older songs, which makes us all feel relieved that it is still PETOFI to the core. It’s an enjoyable track, and there’s no question that it’s good to have a song of this type in the midst of all the experimentation. I would note, however, it was a logical and, after some time, necessary step to make the recipe somewhat different. This has become a very regular phenomenon in recent years, and does not necessarily mean the loss of the old, well-known identity of a band.
The third song on the new release, Komorebi, will definitely give you a bit of relief in the middle of the concerts, when you start singing the chorus with everyone. In order to get the lyrics and the atmosphere of the song for the upcoming concerts, be sure to check out the video clip for the track
The last leaf that falls below the surface is Posztó. Here, too, the clean vocals play a bigger role, which also makes it a song that is more experimental, which can be said about the majority of the EP. From the first moment, the drums make their presence felt (as they do on Szürke), giving the flavour to the end of our circle of sorrow. What else could be the overall impression of the song but a sense of sadness soaked in the numerous shades of grey? The cue is strong and remains with us when our will to live appears to be fading.
Levelek a föld alól is approximately eighteen minutes of pondering, searching for answers, mourning, coping with everyday life and bringing to the surface what we must deal with if we wish to avoid the asylum in the long run. Does the EP represent what PETOFI really is and why we love the band? I think the concerts will give us a very satisfying answer to this, where the songs of the EP will be played one by one, giving us a chance to get into the spirit of the record and, not least, to get deeper into what lies behind it. The quality is there, as is the process of entering unknown rooms. What is this if not an exciting new chapter?
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