Last June, late to the party, I discovered Staražytnaje licha, the debut demo of a Belarusian black/death band named Ljosazabojstwa (which means something like “murder of fate”). The demo was originally released by the band in digital form in December 2015 and was then reissued the following year on CD by Hellthrasher Productions (with a bonus track, the 9-minute opener “Struk u horła chrysta”). I concluded my review in this way: “This is a very, very strong debut with high re-play value that ought to get your head moving (along with the rest of your body).”
Now, Ljosazabojstwa have returned with a new EP (though it’s substantial for an EP, with a 32-minute run-time). This one is named Sychodžańnie, and it will be released tomorrow by the same Hellthrasher Productions that reissued the first one. Today we’re very happy to let you listen to all of it through our premiere of a full stream.
As good as Staražytnaje licha was, Sychodžańnie is better. While that first demo was a multifaceted affair, there are even more facets on this new gem, and the band have pushed the dynamism of their compositions to even greater heights. The result is a half hour of music that keeps the listener tightly bound in the chains of its attraction.
Of the six tracks on the EP, two of them — the opener “Pozirk u biezdań” and the fifth one, which is the title track — are instrumental pieces. The first functions as an intro and the title track as a very effective interlude. “Pozirk u biezdań”, performed through the sounds of a cathedral organ and a piano, is somber, haunting, and increasingly sinister, a fitting prelude to the menacing, gloomy, and destructive aspects of the songs to come. “Sychodžańnie”, in which an echoing lead guitar takes center stage against a backdrop of abrasive chords, is also grim, ominous, and eerie — yet majestic as well.
These represent only some of the EP’s changing facets — spoken-word samples appear on a few occasions, and “Šliach na Miehida” includes an interlude of its own, a sorrowful, soulful, reverberating guitar melody that becomes perhaps the EP’s only true moment of beauty.
But the most significant sources of the EP’s dynamism are the constant shifting of rhythmic gears within each song and the masterful entwining of genre elements, which include heavy doses of thrash within the main framework of black and death metal, as well as passages of crawling doom. And with a production job that gives everything an extremely heavy and powerful sound, the twists and turns taken by the songs become even more riveting.
Propelled by an excellent drum performance and a bone-jarring bass thrum, the songs range in their movements from blood-rushing frenzies of savagery to dirge-like stomps, from punk-fueled thrashing and slashing to mid-paced gallops, from lumbering and chugging to rapid-fire jabbing. Through it all, the music is dark and dangerous, but there’s plenty of incandescent soloing as well as solos that are serpentine and exotic.
Ljosazabojstwa also know their way around a melodic hook, and those lurk in every track — some of them achingly bereaved, some of them groaning and dismal, others alien and mysterious.
Well-written, expertly performed, and powerfully produced, Sychodžańnie is very, very good and very much worth the time for a complete run from beginning to end.
Again, Sychodžańnie will be released on June 30 by Hellthrasher Productions. Order it on Bandcamp: