The mysterious Polish band Batushka quickly conquered attention and critical acclaim within the underground metal scene therefore since the announcement of the sophomore release “Hospodi” it has become clear that this would be one of the most anticipated albums of the year. As “Hospodi” triumphantly emerges from the depths of darkness its genesis is surrounded by a strong mysticism and inspired by Eastern Orthodox liturgical music but the major schism within the band and the consequent divided fanbase might unfortunately distract the listeners from fully comprehending the immersive essence of this album.
The monumental liturgy symbolized by “Dziewiatyj Czas” aims to conjure the album’s darkest essence through a loop of captivating melodies that will eventually evolve into a more aggressive instrumental core that certainly bears the mark of traditional black metal just like the deeply anguished growls while obviously the chanted vocals create an intense mystical aura.
“Wieczernia” still preserves the decadent mixture of abrasive blackened momentum and solemn transcendent atmosphere accompanied by Gregorian style chants but adds a generous dosage of groovy rock rhythmic dynamics that sound more accessible in the midst of faster menacing guitar riffs.
“Powieczerje” has the fervour of a spiritual experience building darkened aesthetics with an intense blend of mournful guitar melodies that can also sound quite catchy and multilayered arcane chants that naturally emphasize the expression of tormented emotions.
“Utrenia” feels more enigmatic with an overdose of occult atmospheric nuances enriched by the occasional blasts of blackened fury courtesy of merciless rhythmic twists and diabolical growls yet maintains a remarkable melodic essence that flourishes through the dramatic guitar progressions.
“Pierwyj Czas” will inevitably convey anguished feelings due to the faster and absolutely vicious rhythmic segments once again clearly inspired by old school black metal so what really makes a difference here is the sudden introspective momentum and the underlying semi religious atmospheres.
“Liturgiya” closes the arcane ceremony accentuating the funereal vibes with the doom laden weight of the imposing guitar riffs and the essential ominous chants that definitely sound like prayers for the dead lingering through the hypnotic slow burning melodies.
At this point it would make more sense to focus on the strong obscure force of “Hospodi” and put aside any drama or gossip surrounding Batushka because music always has a more important value as you will certainly notice listening carefully to this majestic new opus.