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Batushka: Hospodi

In a strange development that has many in the underground metal community turned upside down, the Polish black metal band known as Batushka now exists in two forms. The singer, Bartlomiej Krysiuk, who essentially guested on the original 2015 album Litourgiya, has apparently stolen the name and the merchandising rights from the band’s true composer and originator, Krzysztof Drabikowski. The underhanded move has resulted in two Batushka albums being released this year. This review concerns itself with Hospodi, the work of Bartlomej Krysiuk. Released in July of 2019 on Metal Blade Records, the album cannot be considered a follow-up to Litourgiya, even though both band and label are dubiously billing it as such. The most accurate description that can be made about Hospodi is that it is an album influenced by, born as a result of, and otherwise conceived in the shadow of Litourgiya.

Rights and legalities aside, as a consumer of heavy metal music you visit this website to gain insight about the tunes these bands create, and regardless of the dodgy origins of Hospodi, it has been released and therefore we will review it.

From the outset, it is clear that this iteration of Batushka is attempting to recreate the unique atmosphere of Drabikowski’s debut. With a top-notch sound production to bolster the songs, compositions like “Szestoj Czas” sound massive, the choirs evoking a Therion-like feel around a fairly simple grouping of riffs and simplistic drumming. The pace never wavers from the mushy middle, as is true on most of the album. By contrast, “Polunosznica” builds slowly over a majestic tune before spilling into blast-beat territory. The vocal line soars quite deliberately over a wall of machine battery drumming.

“Dziewiatyj Czas” creates an atmosphere of melancholy with its ever-present choral vocals which then give over to an instrumental break. Screaming vocals then come in, and the trade-off is repeated throughout. The trouble with the album is that when Hospodi is not sounding like a direct copy of that Litourgiya album, they are basically winding up as a poor man’s Rotting Christ.

Nothing on the album is bad, or poorly construed, per se, but as passionate fans of the artistic integrity so unique to heavy metal, it is impossible to ignore that Hospodi tries and fails to climb the pinnacle of atmosphere and nuance. Hospodi is not the abject creative failure some are making it out to be; after all it had a lot of label support and was engineered quite well. Newcomers to the genre will find a hypnotic, solid listen with an entertaining vocal array over an unspectacular rhythm section. But those familiar with the esoteric and orthodox inspired sound of the original Batushka will have a hard time embracing this record.

Track listing:

  1. Wozglas
  2. Dziewiatyj Czas
  3. Wieczernia
  4. Powieczerje
  5. Polunosznica
  6. Utrenia
  7. Pierwyj Czas
  8. Tretij Czas
  9. Szestoj Czas
  10. Liturgiya

Added: July 24th 2019
Reviewer: Nicholas Franco
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 279
Language: english

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