Metal Bulletin Zine (est. 2006) is a metal music zine (Seattle region), online and on paper. 160 issues so far.
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Monday, December 11, 2017
the chanting of the priests of the black metal church of Batushka
release date: November 3rd, 2017
label: Metal Blade Records
"Congregation rises, starts to chant a hymn
Of evil, lust and hatred, the root of every sin" --Metal Church
Creating music that conveys the sense of being present at a church mass has interested metal musicians for a long time. The mysteries and rites of religion sparks a curiosity in bands and some have in their own ways communicated this sense of wonder in their works. Perhaps one of the first serious invocations of the dark spiritual wonders inside the music itself is Candlemass. The album Nightfall (1987) in particular has an atmosphere that the band wants the listener to feel the sensation and the presence of the rites of the religiosity. The band has the visual image of a singer dressed like a monk; that same singer, unlike any other, with his unusual melancholic and powerful style, is a man who manages to convince in his role as a dark metal monk. The music of the album comes across in places as if you are listening to church music in the form of doom metal.
The communication of the mysteries and rituals was later expressed by bands like Mayhem, Deathspell Omega and Root. The sense of worshipfulness in music is found in some places in the black metal masterpiece of masterpieces De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, and then later in the crowning achievement Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice, in moments like "First Prayer," to name but one example in said work. The Book certainly works with said concepts and the vocalist channels the spirit of the monk of the darkness.
For these reasons, it is noteworthy to point out what Batushka (Poland) has done with Litourgiya. The chanting and the sense of worship is now at a different phase: Batushka uses the chanting as part of the songs, as integral, and not as an occasional component of the music. In other words, they have worked the chanting into the songs for a more complete experience of witnessing and living the rites of the church.
Surprisingly, the music is accessible: there are eight songs and not a single track goes over six minutes. No song is a waste of time, no song is an experiment and all the songs stay on point. The compactness and the efficiency of the music goes a long way towards making the album very enjoyable, and very easy to understand, despite the possible first impression that it might be an experimental work. It is not. The songs get to the headbanging, and that is commendable. It is catchy songs, black metal music, and the chanting of the priests in the style of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.