This band came really out of nowhere in 2015. Nobody ever heard of it before and nobody knows who its members are. Batushka released the debut album Litourgiya in December and since then hell followed with it. It was released by the Polish label Witching Hour in 4 different formats ( digipak + cd wooden box, LP+ wooden box), each version limited to a certain amount of copies.
Apparently this child of darkness comes from Poland and its name means Father in Russian, not in the familial way but in the religious one, as priest. And I can see why, a special bond between it and the listener is immediately established, slowly possessing the listener and subduing his mind.
This album, which became instantly my favorite album of the year for 2015, combines what many black metal groups have tried to do for a long time but only few have succeeded: atmosphere (Eastern Orthodox church singing, graphics, lyrics etc), fierce black metal and gloomy, blasphemic slow parts that entwine in such a malevolent way that the 41 minutes of this album seem just a mere flapping of some dying angel’s wings.
Divided in 8 parts, from Yekteniya 1 to Yekteniya 8, Litourgiya is a monster of furious black metal, with tremolo guitar riffing, insane shrieks, high speed blast beats combined with grave clean voices, mid paced, double bass drumming and fantastic guitar solos. All mixed in a sinister atmosphere where bells, thurible and choirs of mentally deranged men seem to partake in an orthodox ritual that at some point went horribly wrong.
The production is A class, every instrument can be heard very clearly and the duel of the antagonistic voices is impressive. The faster, brutal sections of the album make the slower, doomier ones even heavier, everything combining into a golem-like shape of fanatical religious ecstasy.
I cannot figure out if the lyrics are sung only in Russian or there’s Polish involved too, but that just doesn’t matter. The album is so well crafted that each song flows into each other in a very musical way but in the same time not turning this into a twisted mass of gooey music.
There is not one weak point on this album, every song is incredibly written and performed and it’s best to listen to it as a whole, to immerse yourself in the orthodox ecstasy that pours from the speakers while the music flows. Truly a masterpiece of black music and I really hope this band will not become a victim of the commercial world we live in and sell out like another (still) anonymous rock band did not some long ago.
1. Yekteniya 1
2. Yekteniya 2
3. Yekteniya 3
4. Yekteniya 4
5. Yekteniya 5
6. Yekteniya 6
7. Yekteniya 7
8. Yekteniya 8
Withching Hour Productions December 2015