This album exceeds their debut one
Following their debut release Litourgiya from 2015, Batushka has managed to live up to and maybe even exceed their first success with Hospodi, which means God. Another earth-shattering release for such a young band—being only four years since Batushka’s creation— will put them higher on the map and that’s exactly what this album does. The black metal band continues to write music inspired by the Eastern Orthodox Church written in the Old Church Slavonic language.
Even for listeners who are not familiar with the language, they can tune into the religious concepts through the cover art and elements used throughout the ten tracks. Such elements include ringing church bells, prayers and the vocals on particular songs. From the first track “Wozglas,” people can hear the bell of an old church ring and are kept in this religious setting with omen-like chanting for vocals.
At the end of the album, listeners are seamlessly brought in to the next track “Dziewiattyj Czas” as the last notes from the first track are the beginning of this one. If someone was not paying attention to title changes, they may even miss that a song has ended. This trend, of fluidly continuing into the next track, happens a lot on the album and helps the overall flow of Hospodi.
With the beginning track as strictly chanting vocals, “Dziewiattyj Czars” is the first track with shrieking, screaming vocals typical in black metal. Then, wedding bells start off one of the standout songs of the album: “Wieczernia.” After a slow beginning, the song shifts into rapid-fire riffs reminiscent of DragonForce. Anyone, no matter whether they know the language or not, can appreciate the technical elements of the instruments and vocals.
In “Powieczerje” and “Polunosznica,” the religious theme can still be felt with a choir harmony of ohms and what sounds like a prayer before a meal to start off the tracks respectively. Batushka beautifully shifts between background noises (bells) and screaming vocals throughout the album to create a hard-rock composition that leaves people craving the next song.
“Liturgiya,” the final track of Hospodi, is the longest song of the album at six minutes and 33 seconds. Overall, it’s a slow song that builds and finally introduces lyrics halfway through. Again, fans experience chanting, choir-esque vocals. So, they start and end the journey in a similar fashion.
As a young band, Batushka is creating solid albums that show off their technical skills and they should be one anyone and everyone’s radar.