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Батюшка (Batushka) - Панихида (Panikhida) Award winner

Батюшка (Batushka)
Панихида (Panikhida)
by Kyle Scott at 05 June 2019, 10:11 AM

БАТЮШКА is going through some stuff right now. On one hand, there is BATUSHKA, comprised of Bartlomiej Krysiuk and a backing band who are planning to release a follow up to their debut Litourgya in July. On the other hand, there is БАТЮШКА with Krzysztof Drabikowski at the helm, who already released the sophomore follow up to Litourgya, Панихида (Panikhida), on Bandcamp last month. Due to a great internal conflict, the band has basically cloned itself into two, and both versions are claiming to be the real БАТЮШКА while ordering fans to shoot the imposter. While the waters may be a tad murky surrounding the whole split, after listening to Панихида, it's been obvious to anyone that Drabikowsky was and is the one and true mastermind behind БАТЮШКА.

Every track on Панихида is just named Песнь or "song". And while they aren't as creatively named as Litourgya's track names, that classic БАТЮШКА atmosphere is as heavy and omnipresent as the distorted basslines; just like we remembered. Drums rattle deep into the Earth, an intimidating series of blast beats complimenting a backdrop of absolutely mournful vocals. Of all the dramatic choir noises I've heard in countless black and death metal tracks, БАТЮШКА's choir chants always sounded the most authentic or intimate; as if you stumbled upon one of the band's midnight rituals by accident, and yet you can't help but stop and listen. Throaty vocals resonate in your soul, the ritual taking on a twisted life of its own as you, the unaware sacrifice of the night, are rapt with a strange hypnosis as Drabikowski screams bloody murder over soundscapes of violent beauty. Hurricanes of cymbals and drumlines are no match for Drabikowski's lungs, not even the sorrowful vocals can be drowned out by the audiocidal storm of tremolo riffs. While some fan complaints of the lack of variety on Панихида were voiced, keeping the screaming vocals and moaning liturgies of the faceless choir felt like a good move. By keeping the elements we remembered and fell in love with, those of us sitting on the fence throughout this whole issue of band identity crisis finally gave us a reason to side with Drabikowsky.

Here's to hoping the split halves of БАТЮШКА will rejoin and reconcile or for the imposter side to finally be done away with, and Kryzysztof Drabikowski can have his band back.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Песнь 1
2. Песнь 2
3. Песнь 3
4. Песнь 4
5. Песнь 5
6. Песнь 6
7. Песнь 7
8. Песнь 8
Krzysztof Drabikowski - Everything
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Edited 04 February 2023

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