Let’s get a couple of things out of the way, one obvious and another maybe not so obvious: Bastardizing the Purity is bestial black metal that’s unforgiving and unrepentant, and it will not appeal to great swaths of listeners, but rather will cut them down like wheat before the scythe. That’s the obvious point (and a point that could be made about everything we premiere — nothing will appeal to everyone, though admittedly the fanbase for this album is a much narrower cadre of adherents than usual). If it doesn’t appeal to you, that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, but nor does it necessarily mean that there’s something wrong with the music of Blasphamagoatachrist (even though they do often sound psychotically barbaric). Different music serves different needs.
The less obvious point, or at least one less obvious to people who just have no taste for this kind of rampaging sonic warfare, is that it isn’t all alike. There are gradations of quality, just as there are for any other sub-genre of metal, not noticeable to people who want nothing to do with it but discernible to those whose needs this feeds. The rest of this introductory review is for the latter group of people. Everyone else can politely show themselves out, though you’ll be welcome to come back another day.
And by the way, if you’re perplexed by the band’s name, ask yourself this question: If you were members of Blasphemy, Goatpenis, and Antichrist, and you decided to join forces, what else would you call your collective endeavor?
Yes, it’s true that the line-up of Blasphamagoatachrist includes members of those terrorizing Canadian and Brazilian bands. Their first release together was a 2018 debut demo, Black Metal Warfare, which prompted these thoughts when I first encountered it back then:
“On the one hand, it’s rampant slaughtering — pure unhinged ferocity and livid agony in the vocal department, matched with storming guitars and fast, plundering drumwork. On the other hand, the wild, pulsating riffs in the song get their hooks in the head damned fast. Chaos reigns, but heads will bob too.”
As for this debut album, which will be released on April 25th by Nuclear War Now! Productions, it possesses those same qualities, but others as well. At a high level, the music is imperiously defiant and domineering, murderously militaristic, and violently chaotic. Those, by the way, are three different sensations that the music generates as it changes within each song. You might describe them differently or detect others as well.
The music is also willfully abrasive and relentlessly geared toward the infliction of terror. That much seems true throughout, even as the music changes.
The songs have a tendency to begin in mid-paced fashion, in stomping or swinging marches or with a cadence that seem to lurch. And they also have a tendency to then explode in displays of vicious, destructive mayhem, in fusillades of automatic-weapon drumming, waves of swarming and ripping guitar distortion, demonically wild, throat-ripping yells that reverberate inside the listener’s skull, and unhinged, wailing and shrieking leads.
The drumming shifts among different snare patterns, but it almost always sounds militaristic. Even when tom-drum strikes go off, it sounds like mortar fire. The vocals are also never less than frightening and deranged, but they simultaneously contribute to the feeling of cruel imperiousness that pervades the album. That feeling is enhanced when the riffing moves away from hornet-swarm chaos to slashing chords that sometimes seem like distorted trumpet fanfares rising in sadistic glory.
There are also hints of uncomfortable melody in the music — the dismal, diseased doom-soaked guitars at the outset of “Abysmal Commands” and the paranormal and predatory aspects of “Evil Revelation” (which give it an occult atmosphere) are two examples. In addition, the album includes an introductory track and two other interludes that provide breaks in the slaughtering, but no relief from the oppressive moods of war-zone fear that blanket the music.
In a nutshell, Bastardizing the Purity is a cathartic, take-no-prisoners channeling of violence and domination, executed by people who know what they’re doing, and whose execution makes room for tempo dynamics, riff changes, and opportunities for listeners to move their heads, while almost never letting up on the sheer ferocity or filthiness of their sound, or the music’s capacity to generate a fight-or-flight adrenaline response.
NWN will release the album on CD, LP, and digitally. Again, the release date is April 25th, and it’s available for pre-order now: