Ljosazabojstwa – Sychodžańnie

The occult horror of a certain type of black/death generally somewhat influenced by or otherwise in line with Mortuary Drape is one of my favorite things, and Ljosazabojstwa clearly agree, given the content on Sychodžańnie and on the demo that came before it. From the first bits of atmosphere created by a haunting organ introduction through the very last chords, everything about this EP is massive; monolithic doom-driven rhythms do combat with the vocalist’s echoing snarl, subtle keyboards occasionally provide an extra layer, and the whole package is complimented by the immense production that ties the entire package together. Ominous interludes, sometimes mid-track, build tension, and whenever appropriate buildup has been reached, well-timed eruptions launch trudging doom into ripping hellfire before spiraling back to a horrifying crawl.

Though I mentioned Mortuary Drape as a point of comparison (and a clear influence), Ljosazabojstwa are by no means a clone of anyone; chaotic tremolo melodies, pretty leads, fiery death metal, and blazing thrash merge seamlessly to form a package that fits the mood that Mortuary Drape, Necros Christos, or similar bands put me into without feeling like a pointless ripoff at any point. Though sometimes the non-metal interruptions get a bit much for me, the overall package is startlingly strong, and a welcome change of pace from the onslaught of more straightforward death metal releases that I’ve been hearing from this year so far; as a point to their credit, the interludes are well written (or well picked, for the samples), and my general distaste for lengthy and frequent interludes may well be more of a problem for me than the interludes themselves.

Ljosazabojstwa fundamentally call for a return to the occult, and I welcome it with open arms. Sychodžańnie is catchy, memorable, and excellently performed, with more than enough variety and strength of both songwriting and pacing to keep the EP interesting from listen to listen. Most great EP’s leave me wanting more from the band, and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing Ljosazabojstwa’s first full length, this is a rare EP powerful enough to merit the repeat listens and reflection to occupy me until whenever the band feels that another release is necessary.

Listen, support, buy

Ljosazabojstwa - Sychodzannie [cover art]

Engulfed – Engulfed in Obscurity

Engulfed in Obscurity is the debut album from longtime scene veterans Engulfed, all of whom have been in Engulfed and other bands for the long years leading up to this spectacular album. Massive and multifaceted, Engulfed take cues from Incantation and Dead Congregation to bring a long and harrowing death metal assault that stays as focused and punishing from the moment of conception until the very end. Massive tremolo picked rhythms play against quick melodic lines that sometimes harmonize with the rhythms and sometimes dart off to do their own things, and Diabolical Conquest-esque harmonized slower bits of trilling doom make for a good counterpart to the blazing tempos that the album sometimes reaches towards.

Though the album is fairly straightfoward in its style, the delivery is anything but, with the band doing their best to keep both guitars from playing the exact same notes for longer than a bar or two and with no riff being repeated more than a few times. Frequent tempo changes and jumps from melodicism to punishment are extremely compelling, and vocalist/bassist Serkan’s powerful howling adds an extra demonic flair to the mix. The drumming, though locked into a few similar patterns, changes up tempo and moves back and forth from pattern to pattern enough to keep from ever getting stale, driving everything forth wonderfully, and the drums are mixed excellently (save for perhaps a tiny bit of clickiness at points in the kick, which is a very minor issue on this album), which is always something that I listen to.

Overall, especially for a debut, I can only call this album a massive success, and say that I’m already looking forward to the EP that the band promises is coming next year.

Listen and buy (Hellthrasher Productions)

Listen and buy (Blood Harvest Records)

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Image source: Blood Harvest Records