BATUSHKA

Black Metal • Poland
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Batushka is a Russian-speaking Polish black metal band with doom and post-metal influences. The members keep their identities in secret, although rumours have spread that they are well-known figures of the Polish black metal scene. Their 2015 debut album Litourgiya is a unique mix of the aforementioned black metal and eastern orthodox chants and atmosphere.

In 2018, the group's two members both claimed to have kicked each other out of the band, resulting the project becoming the subject of a legal dispute and two versions of it operating at the same time. This page continues as the project of Варфоломей, who released the album Hospodi in 2019. Христофор's version of the band started using the Cyrillic name Батюшка and released the album Панихида, also in 2019.

(biography originally taken from last.fm and later extended upon by adg211288, July 2019)
Thanks to triceratopsoil for the addition and adg211288 for the updates

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HospodiHospodi
Metal Blade 2019
$11.49
$15.76 (used)
LitourgiyaLitourgiya
WHOUR 2016
$83.98
Batushka: Hospodi (digibook) [CD]Batushka: Hospodi (digibook) [CD]
Mystic Production
$14.67
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BATUSHKA Discography

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BATUSHKA Litourgiya album cover 3.86 | 3 ratings
Litourgiya
Black Metal 2015
BATUSHKA Hospodi album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hospodi
Black Metal 2019

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BATUSHKA Reviews

BATUSHKA Litourgiya

Album · 2015 · Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Times have certainly changed. Black metal emerged from the underground world in the 1980s with the first signs of life coming to fruition with bands like Bathory and Mayhem engaging in a rather misanthropic rage with a vehement emphasis on anti-Christianity. The genre quickly became known as the Satanic section at the metal supermarket but as soon as the full swing of the 90s second wave hit, bands were beginning to experiment with varying supplemental sounds and subject matter which even resulted in the ultimate paradox of Chrirstian black metal dubbed “unblack metal” first attempted by Australia’s Horde and while it would take a few years for the process to fully unfold, by the 2000s there would be as many atmospheric blackened metal bands lamenting about Paganism and ecology as there were those still engaged in the occult and black arts.

Samples from traditional Christian liturgical sounds in black metal also extends way back to the 90s when bands like Ulver juxtaposed orthodox Gregorian chants within the tapestry of the fury and bombast of black metal and once the flood gates were opened it seems that every black metal act since has been trying to find a way to make the darkness and the light dance together with some results better than others. While perhaps France’s Deathspell Omega has proven the most successful in integrating these chants into the darkened bleakness of bantering buzzsaw guitar metal, another band that has successfully integrated the two aspects surely has to be Poland’s Батюшка (BATUSHKA) whose debut album Литургия (Litourgiya) found the perfect recipe for a steady stream of Russian Orthodox Church litanies wrapped up in the usual black metal suspects of distorted tremolo guitar picking, blastbeats and raspy no fucks given vocal bantering.

While the band has split into two separate entities in recent years, this early version began in Białystok, Poland in 2015, a city that straddles the border of Poland and Belarus and contains as many ethnic Russians, Belarussians, Jews and other minorities as it does Poles. The city has always been a crossroads of sorts for immigrants and in the region has been exposed to a wide variety of traditions. BATUSHKA which consisted of Krzysztof Drabikowski [aka Христофоръ] (guitar, bass, vocals), Bartłomiej Krysiuk [aka Варфоломей] (vocals), Marcin Bielemiuk [aka Мартин] (drums) created a style of music with a passion that lay in the realms of black metal however found that the Eastern Orthodox liturgical music shared many characteristics with the more modern antithesis and set out to fuse the two as had never been successfully amalgamated before. The result was the bands debut Литургия (Litourgiya) which literally translates as “Liturgy.”

LITOURGIYA is a musical statement of contrasts. A Polish band chanting in Russian. Orthodox Christian liturgies surrounded by the suffocating subversiveness of the fiery fury of black metal. A sense of ancient timelessness in cohorts with a style of music that is clearly rooted in the modern era. While this sounds like a recipe for disaster and to be honest it really could go down in flames in so many ways, BATUSHKA carry it off with relative ease. In fact, BATUSHKA make it sound downright natural and makes you wonder why someone else hasn’t pulled this miraculous hybrid off sooner. The album consists of eight tracks with each titled “Ектения (Yekteniya)” which means “Litany” followed by a subtitle. The album begins with the dominant forces of the Christian liturgical sounds with the black metal taking a back seat and slowly ramps up the black metal dominance as the album plays on. The contrast between the clean vocal chants and raspy black metal screams trade off perfectly with each side of the equation holding its ground throughout the album’s 41 minute run.

When all is said and done the mysterious BATUSHKA represents a new paradigm within the black metal world and one that is the antithesis to its one-sided origins. The demonstrative efforts presented display the fertile cross-pollinating abilities that continue to emerge in the once one-trick pony metal sub-genre and the best thing of all is that the metal aspects of the album are in no way compromised for the sake of what may sound like a gimmicky side show. Perhaps my only complain is that the album does seem to resonate as a little samey as it plays on with the same metal riffs reemerging track after track but in the end this is a brilliant slice of black metal vs Christian liturgical chanting in the ultimate musical death match ever and in a day when it’s harder to stand out from the pack than ever before, it’s actually quite the accomplishment.

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