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Burnt Offering – Harvest Award winner

Burnt Offering
Harvest
by Gary Hernandez at 19 October 2020, 8:09 PM

BURNT OFFERING is a Black Metal trio out of Leipzig, Germany. (I am now convinced, btw, that Leipzig is the heavy metal capital of the planet. Have you heard all the incredible metal coming out of this city?) Anyway, BURNT OFFERING formed around 2013, put their demo out in 2015, and on August 20, 2020 they released their debut full-length album, “Harvest.” They specialize in an old school, raw rendering of the black art. With “Harvest” they give no quarter and offer no apologies. The entire album is in Russian, the band members go under assumed names, and their musical contributions are unattributed. Essentially, they give zero f*cks and don’t care what you think about it.

“Harvest” comprises seven tracks and spans just under 45 minutes. Production-wise, the album is surprisingly well mixed, especially for Black Metal. The instruments have clean separation, the bass is audible, and the vocals, though all in Russian and rendered with the tenor of dry ice, are articulate. I swear to the gods there is even rhythm and melody. The album also includes a number of unexpected flourishes like an acoustic intro and an assortment of well-placed field recordings. There are so many great tracks on this album that I’m going to have to devote several paragraphs to them, so grab some absinthe and prepare yourself for some mind-blowing grandiloquence:

First on my standout tracks list is “Aqua Tofana,” which is actually the name of a poison infamously concocted in Italy. In the 17th century one Giulia Tofana produced the poison with supreme efficacy and distributed it to soon to be widows. This went on for about fifty years, which says something about the quality of husbands in that region as well as the business savvy of Giulia.

Second on my list is “The Night Of The Harvest,” a well-crafted multi-movement track that doles out layer upon layer of sonic abuse. It seems to be the closest thing to a title track and is the second longest song on the album. The track showcases some downright malicious thrashing of ye old kit of drums; someone seems to be hurting the vocalist, a lot; and the twin guitar assault is tighter than a Faustian pact. Killer track.

“Mokosh” treats us to some sort of acoustic string instrument opening that is gloriously tortuous. It sounds like a tone-deaf badger playing on an untuned instrument in the dark. And then we get some horse hooves and some dude talking away in Russian and crickets chirping and a bunch of sharps and flats which somehow resolve themselves into cohesive harmonic phrasing and we’re left thinking, WTF. But in a good way. Mokosh, for inquiring minds who want to know, is a Slavic goddess who heads up the department of spinning and weaving, sheep shearing, and protecting pregnant women.

The final track, “In The Mist By Basalt Columns,” also rates high on my favorites. It’s the last and shortest track on the album, but maybe the most memorable. It dabbles in Doomish arts and leaves you wondering, “Is there such a thing as Blackened Doom?” It’s also instrumental, except for some arcane choral action going on. Probably my favorite track on the album.

I really liked this album. Thematically it covers iconic dark material from poisoned wells to abandoned villages to winged demons stalking burial mounds. It’s like that “The Seventh Seal” film by INGMAR BERGMAN ate a bunch of glass, learned to speak Russian, and then transmogrified itself into blasphemous music. Great stuff, this one.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Всесожжение (Burnt Offering)
  2. Отравленный Кубок (Chalice Of Poison)
  3. Аква Тофана (Aqua Tofana)
  4. Ночь Жатвы (The Night Of The Harvest)
  5. Что Помнят Курганы (What Barrows Remember)
  6. Мокошь (Mokosh)
  7. В Тумане У Базальтовых Колонн (In The Mist By Basalt Pillars)
Lineup:
Blind Idiot God – Unknown
Asbath – Unknown
Nameless Enemy – Unknown
Record Label: Casus Belli Musica
     


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Edited 05 December 2020
 

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