Batushka
Panihida


3.5
great


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Two thirds of the creative with three fourths of the fan support makes one half of a Batushka record.

Who would have guessed this? Batushka have found themselves in a shroud of drama lately. Things were said, accusations thrown, lawsuits filed, friendships broken and fanbase divided. And even though it is probably already clear, who the real Batushka is, there still will be a heavy cloud of doubt for a long time. Who is really to blame for Batushka’s outfall: Is it Krys’ behaviour and constant delays of album release or is it Bart’s backstabbing method of copyrighting? Which Batushka is the trve Batushka: the one by the guy who wrote and recorded majority of the instruments or the one by the guy who made people actually pay attention to the band? What will this mean for the future of the band: will either Krys or Bart become the full owners of the Batushka brand or will we forever remain in this creative schism?

But those are most likely questions for the lawyers. In the meantime, as a starry-eyed optimist, I still believe that for the sake of metal, we should all take a step back, relax a little and judge objectively. If Bart’s Hospodi turns out to be a genre-defining grandiosity, in spite of all the distaste fans have for him now, I will come out and say it is so. And if Krys’ Panihida is nothing more than a watered-down rehash of Liturgiya, I will also be completely honest with myself and everyone, even though he seems to be a fan favourite. And while we still have a few months to wait for Bart’s output, Krys already made his available. And so how did the bigger fan favourite of the two fare?

First off, the most noticeable aspect about this is that the vocals are mostly replaced with choral singing and the more traditional black metal shrieks are mostly drowned out on the background, as if to hide something. There is no word out yet on the personnel behind this, but seeing as Krys states himself as the sole composed and executor of the album, I will go ahead and assume that he is also the singer. Say what you will, but Bart had a unique vocal presence, which is rather lacking here. Certainly, Krys is a skilled vocalist and all things considered, his rusty growls can be engrossing and nauseating, see “Песнь 2”. But that is what they are, rusty growls. Bring them out into forefront and you’ll most likely hear that they come off more as deathly heaves. Definitely a suiting fit for an extreme metal record, but struggling to move along with even the choir. Therefore they are hidden in the back, behind all the music.

Heck, Krys is master of the instrumental, no questions about that. So why not create a purely choir-led black metal record that is primarily built on your instrumental finesse? He clearly had a concrete vision for the album: less melodic atmosphere, more relentlessness. Or so it comes off most of the time. The vocals are mixed in very oddly; they feel detached and layered in as what seems like an afterthought. Take “Песнь 3”, where you can barely hear them. And then take “Песнь 1”, “Песнь 4” and “Песнь 7” that each have slower moments or louder vocal mixing, in which the gnarly snarls feel mostly piercing. As for the music itself, expect nothing less of a harshness galore. It barely slows down and for the most part blasts you with a hectic dose of that tried and true Batushka brand of production. But the song-writing is not it. For whatever reason, the subtle writing that was partially responsible for making Liturgiya so outstanding is missing here. This album delves into much, much less melodic territories and outside of general production and heavy emphasis on choral vocals, nothing much suggests that this is indeed Batushka. That signature tonal grandiosity doesn’t come until the very last track, “Песнь 8”.

So take it with a grain of salt. By all means, Batushka is back and with all of the creative force of their main musical mastermind at the helm. But whether or not that force is headed in the right direction is disputable. By the looks of it, Bart’s project wants to delve into more ordinary black metal, while Krys admittedly tried ambitiously to head the project someplace new. He tried to make it less reliant on the more popular atmospheric elements, he tried to make it more occult and he tried to make it less flashy. Perhaps that is why it took him so long to make that Bart grew impatient. And perhaps, had Bart not demanded Krys to be faster, he could have been the final contributing factor to this album’s greatness and all of those ideas and artistic decisions Krys was heading for could have even surpassed Liturgiya. But alas, we will very likely never know what Krys and Bart’s second collaboration could have been like. Panihida is certainly a triumphant record, but a bitterly dissonant one.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Papa Universe
May 27th 2019


21720 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

and uppity up the fuck it goes

https://sphieratz.bandcamp.com/releases

Digging: N'Zwaa - Maha Kali

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2019


16168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Why every band wearing a mask ends up in a lawsuit recently.



Panihipos, paps, will check it. (This is the good one, right?)

Papa Universe
May 27th 2019


21720 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cause anonymity means no legal representation or copyright

and yes, this is the trve Batushka

artiswar
May 27th 2019


8500 Comments


can't wait to jam this later. I refuse to believe it's anything less than a 4.5

necropig
May 27th 2019


5459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ah shit, here we go again

Digging: Infernal Conjuration - Infernale Metallum Mortis

Papa Universe
May 27th 2019


21720 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"I refuse to believe it's anything less than a 4.5 "

I don't want to be right about this being just merely decent, so please do 5 the fuck out of it.

zaruyache
May 27th 2019


21044 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

fact check on your review, papa: krzys said in interviews that he was doing the vox too.

Digging: Imha Tarikat - Kara Ihlas

Papa Universe
May 27th 2019


21720 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cause that was Bart's whole initial purpose, to do the main vox. Krys had bands before and is clearly a vocalist, but he wasn't the main vocal performer for Batushka.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2019


16086 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review but it reads a bit like a really long comment

Papa Universe
May 27th 2019


21720 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

that's how most of my reviews read.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2019


16086 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Mostly the first two paragraphs, I love the more personal-review style ofc because I do the same but I found it a little distracting here (:

I really miss those "atmospheric melodic" influences a lot here, this sounds a lot more lo-fi too which is not what I love in my black metal

Hellscythe
May 27th 2019


3835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this doesn't sound like a big dip in quality either musically or production-wise to me

Digging: Silversun Pickups - Widow's Weeds

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2019


16086 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Tbf my favorite off of Litgouriya was the first track which is by far the most atmospheric/melodic, just doesn't seem like there's as much of that here

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2019


16168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Of course the only album in Apple music is Hospodi, right.

artiswar
May 27th 2019


8500 Comments


The supported by comments on bandcamp are glowing so hard I can't even see the page

JustJoe.
May 27th 2019


6154 Comments


POSihida?

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2019


16168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That snare, hnnngg

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2019


9615 Comments


Can definitely get behind this with a pos. Gonna have to get out the laptop again. Apple music sucks a big one sometimes when it comes to music like this.

Digging: Gnaw Their Tongues - An Eternity Of Suffering, An Eternity Of Pain

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2019


16168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Third track is a beast.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2019


16086 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't see myself coming back to this much, nothing stood out compared to the first but I still really like it for a bm album ofc



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