Review Summary: Praying for redemption
These days, Batushka has become synonymous with drama. The epic battle between original members Bartłomiej Krysiuk (Bart) and Krzysztof Drabikowski (Derph) has become the stuff of legend among metal aficionados. Two versions of the band were made, trenches were built, and blood was spilled. Two vicious, vengeful, bloodthirsty hordes fought mercilessly in one of the bloodiest battles Poland has ever seen. But it turned out to be an uneven struggle, as Krzysztof's legion quickly gained ground, slaughtering "traitor" Bart on social networks, somehow managing to boycott his debut album. You only have to look at Hospodi's
ratings a bit everywhere to realize the degree of destruction Krzysztof's army has managed to inflict on its opponent. Simply devastating.
Even tending towards Krzysztof, I will stand on neutral ground, analyzing only the music, leaving the legal issues to the courts and dramatic soap opera specialists. And by doing this, and only this, I can't help but point out that Pаскол / Raskol
turned out to be a pleasant surprise. While Hospodi
shifted into more mainstream and somewhat generic territories, this thirty-minute EP returns to Batushka's roots, with a deeper black metal aesthetic. Raskol
always revolves around itself, being the result of a disciplined and focused thought, never deviating from its gravitational core. As expected, the Orthodox liturgy is still very much present, but this time around it moves through more blackened doom signatures, which now assume greater predominance. As a result, the album acquires atmosphere and a more dramatic personality. However, its secret lies in the way slower tempos connect with typical black metal blast beat signatures. This symbiosis is present in every passage of 'Irmos', being difficult to highlight any of them due to their transversal consistency. Another particularity of Raskol
is the presence of clean minimalist guitars in every track and the emotional suspense at the beginning of each song. This more minimalist approach should please those who see black metal as a raw manifestation of simplicity and a mirror of sensorial ambiances and emotions. The rawer, less polished production also enhances the band's more orthodox approach, conferring Raskol
a more intimate and intimidating character.
Nobody knows for sure how this liturgical war will end, but it seems obvious to me that everyone loses, starting with fans, who thus miss the opportunity to witness the original line-up evolving its sound through time. Nevertheless, while waiting for new dramatic episodes, we can still enjoy the chapters written by these two siamese entities, and as far as Raskol
is concerned, it is undoubtedly a successful one. It's a prayer for redemption, a prayer for fans.
Well Bart, I'm listening.