Although the German black metal band Baxaxaxa released their first demo in the long-lost days of 1992, a decade passed before something new emerged (a split with Ungod), and then an even longer silence descended before the release of the Old Evil EP in 2019. Thankfully, the band’s creative fires have clearly been reignited, because yet another EP followed in 2020 (Devoted to HIM), and now we’re approaching the August 6 release date of their debut album Catacomb Cult on The Sinister Flame label.
Vital clues to the music on the new album are revealed in all the titles that have come forth since Baxaxaxa’s revival a few years ago. It is indeed the sound of old evil and of devotion to infernal occult power, with the overarching atmosphere of a death cult performing their sinister ceremonies in the deepest, darkest, and most haunted of catacombs. Further clues my be found in comparative references to such bands as Mortuary Drape, Root, Hungary’s Tormentor, early Samael, and very early Mayhem.
But the best clues come from the musical previews that have already surfaced and the one we’re bringing you today — a song named “Kingdom Ablaze“.
Baxaxaxa’s music has an unmistakably primitive and primeval sound — and displays a chilling talent for creating moods of spine-tingling dread, supernatural horror, infernal eminence, and haunting loss.
There are also moments when the band discharge musical ravages, and one such time comes at the outset of “Kingdom Ablaze“, in an assault of gripping blast-beats and maniacally roiling guitars. But the fury gradually subsides. The rhythm converts to neck-snapping, mid-paced back-beats and the band unveil bleak yet magisterial chords that quickly get their hooks in your head. The momentum slows even further, and although the vocalist’s ravenous, serrated-edge shrieks continue coming for your throat, the music descends into a realm of haunting and sinister doom, laced with eerie apparitional synths and wretched wails.
The band continue reprising that contagious mid-paced segment, which seems to have narcotic properties, and they further introduce riffs that swagger, swirl, and seethe, enhancing the song’s overarching atmosphere of preternatural menace, capped by one final soul-crushing descent into the netherworld.
Before today’s premiere The Sinister Flame divulged the new album’s title track. If anything, it’s is even more infernally frightening than the song we’re presenting today, but also even more likely to get your head pumping like a piston. It also earns its name, stalking through dark and dank catacombs, but becomes both devilishly ebullient and steeped in grief. At least for this writer, the song also proves the relevance of the reference to the great Czech band Root.
The Sinister Flame will present Catacomb Cult, on CD and vinyl LP formats, as well as digitally. Pre-orders are open now: