May 162023

Almost two years ago we encountered Duhkha, the debut EP by the Polish band Bezdech, summarily describing it as “a hair-raising and head-spinning alchemy of avant-garde black and death metal”, and then adding these words:

This Polish duo paint their disturbing but often electrifying sonic portraits with colors of mind-abrading dissonance, thoroughly unpredictable fretwork maneuvers, and rapidly veering tempos. But the music is just as likely to become cloaked in shrouds of haunting gloom or to dip into streams of soul-shaking misery as it is to spin like a centrifuge of technically impressive lunacy and riotous savagery. And holy shit, the vocals are stunningly rabid and possessed.

Since then Bezdech have expanded their line-up from a two-man studio project to a full four-man band, and have managed to get a few live gigs under their belts. They’ve also been working on new music for a debut album, but have decided to give the world a glimpse of what they’ve been working on via a demo named Tam, gdzie gnijemy pod pomnikami that we’re gratefully premiering today.

As you’ll understand from listening to these two songs, Bezdech still operate within the broad range of dissonant black and death metal, but you’ll also find that the expansion of the band’s lineup has resulted in even more complex interplay between the guitar lines, as well as more natural-sounding performances by the rhythm section. The music is also more polished and professional-sounding, but it’s still dazzling and disorienting stuff, and once again places the “avant garde” stamp on Bezdech in gold.

With only a brief whine of feedback as its introduction, the first song “Żółć” erupts in a raging riot of scalding howls, cavernous roars, pummeling drums, a dense miasma of abrading guitars, and heavy but manic bass upheavals. The riot briefly seems to spend itself, whereupon the music becomes abysmal and moaning — and then an even more unnerving escapade ensues.

Weird and warbling guitars seem to cry out in agony and madness and the drumming becomes a volcanic convulsion. The instruments continue morphing with seeming abandon, and so do the moods. Syncopated beats and vivid bass lines back up bright guitar glimmerings, star-like string-shimmers, and bird-like whistling tones. That segment is a completely surprising contrast with all the preceding dissonance and discord, and it’s thoroughly enthralling.

But it’s not surprising that madness finds exultant life again in the intricate interplay of the guitars, the unpredictable maneuvers of the rhythm section, and the animalistic hostility of the vocals.

In the stream below there’s no real break before the second song begins. Rest assured, “Kenoma (Salò – Kraków)” will not let your spinning head settle between your shoulders. The vocals are again monstrous, but the whirling and contorting guitars seem even more rampantly unhinged. Listening to it is like being propelled at rocket speed through a labyrinth of perilous wonders.

Perhaps needless to say, the rhythm section still pack a big punch, but they’re still every bit as inventive and unpredictable in their twists and turns. Also also perhaps needless today, Bezdech‘s digressions during the slower phases of this song are fascinating, but this time there’s a feeling of anxiety, confusion, and hopelessness in the elaborate movements, and the screams and bellowing growls of the vocalist are terrorizing.

At the end, the song seems to slice through a veil and enter a dimension of dream — a very unsettling dimension to be sure.

Well hell, only two songs, but more than enough to create a lot of eagerness for the album Bezdech are working on.

Bezdech will release this new two-song demo via Bandcamp on May 19th. It was mixed and mastered by bassist/vocalist B, and drums were recorded by Bartłomiej Bochniak.

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