Published Jul 10, 2019Apart from the tempest of drama surrounding the schism of Batushka into divided groups, what really matters is whether the music these robed devotees are fighting over (and with) is any good. Going by Hospodi, the prize might not be worth all this turmoil, as the newest full-length from one half of Batushka feels like an idea stretched and repeated over the course of too many songs.
Batushka caught eyes and ears through their striking use of orthodox religious mysticism in both their stage presence and their music. Making considerable use of eerie, gothic chants, alongside their black metal instrumentation, has thus far worked in their favour, and does so in early parts of Hospodi before you begin to feel like you've heard this before.
While the Gregorian chants and operatic orchestrations are powerful in songs like "Wieczernia" and "Polunosznica," Batushka fail to back it up with their black metal portions, often resorting to boring lengths of by-the-numbers playing, with vocals that fail to capture the emotion its choral counterparts manifest in spades.
By the end of Hospodi, not even the choral elements can really keep one interested, as it doesn't feel as though much has changed throughout the album. While not terrible, Hospodi could have been great if a more complete vision was at work behind it, which means it may very well be a victim of Batushka's own divorce. (Metal Blade)