We’ve been following the progress of Ljosazabojstwa (from Minsk, Belarus) since the beginning, reviewing their debut 2016 debut demo (here), reviewing and premiering their 2017 debut EP Sychodžańnie (here), and reviewing their second EP, 2019’s Lszb (here). It is thus a welcome occasion for us to now premiere and review the band’s debut album, Głoryja Śmierci, which will be released by Godz Ov War Productions on June 8th.
While we’re incapable of pronouncing Ljosazabojstwa‘s name, we understand that in English it means “murder of fate”. We’re also incapable of pronouncing the Belarusian titles of the five substantial tracks encompassed by the new album, whose lyrics are also in the band’s native tongue, but the music speaks for itself, sometimes in a language we can all understand and sometimes in the esoteric incantations of black magic.
The album is an ambitious undertaking. More than 45 minutes in length, it includes songs that each range from 7 to 10 minutes. And beyond the clock counts, the musical ingredients are multi-faceted and the compositions labyrinthine.
Musically, the band have moved more in the direction of blackened death metal, as compared to the more black-metal-centric sounds of their previous shorter works, but the directional change doesn’t end there. At least this listener also detects elements of crust, sludge, and post-metal in the mix, and there are also ingredients (including a sparing use of organ tones) that fleetingly create moods of gothic horror.
In its sound, the music is powerful, bringing to bear bone-smashing heaviness. The bass sounds like an excavating machine; the riffs have a gnarled distortion in their tone; the drumming hits with potent force; and the harsh vocals are palpably malevolent, straddling a line between a growl and a howl. By contrast with all this lead-weighted punch and ferocity, the leads, and especially the soloing, ring with reverberating brilliance, leaping out with riveting clarity and vibrancy.
As noted, the songs are long, and they’ll keep you on your toes. The rhythms and tempos are in almost constant flux, as are the moods — though an air of diabolical menace, mystery, and mayhem hangs over everything. You’ll get an early sense of that through the opening song, “Pachawalnyja śpiewy“. There, a galloping, body-moving rhythm and slashing chords segue into a punk cadence. The music sounds cruel and cold, but the solo sounds sorcerous. In a slower passage, the bass methodically hammers and the melody seems anguished and bereft, but the drums also rumble and the guitar jackhammers, blares, and quivers.
The energy of the song becomes intense, and the music more wild and ravaging, with another weirdly seductive solo that spirals upward like a filament of flame, but it also slows again, channeling heartbreak with a kind of solemn (and skull-busting) grandeur, before you experience a mix of jabbing chords and blazing melodic fanfares that escalates into a riot of clobbering percussion, ecstatic, darting melody, and ferocious roars.
That kind of twisting and turning experience is a hallmark of all the songs. Those exotic and magical guitar solos, which sometimes transform into dual-guitar harmonies, are another stand-out feature of the music. They’re often fluid and soulful, sometimes grief-stricken and sometimes spectacular, and often mystical and unearthly. And while on the subject of guitar work, three of the songs lead off with instrumental guitar overtures that are moody, mysterious, and mesmerizing.
Yes, there’s a lot to take in here, but the band’s skill in songcraft and execution are at a high level — they are diabolically gifted — and as the minutes pass, the fascination builds.
Godz Ov War will release the album on CD and digitally, along with related apparel. There will also be a digital download available through Bandcamp on the release date.
GODZ OV WAR BANDCAMP: