Black Messiah - The Final Journey
AFM Records
Pagan Metal
10 songs (55'23")
Release year: 2012
Black Messiah, AFM Records
Reviewed by Alex

When getting ready to write a review about Black Messiah’s The Final Journey, I have tried to compile some research on this German band. Turns out there were just as many raving reviews of their earlier works (including this site) as there were writings proclaiming them posers and gimmick lovers. Looking at the orc-like facemasks of Black Messiah’s bandmembers, enjoying the songs’ melodies while smiling at their attempt to be all “black” and “pagan”, I suddenly came up with my own explanation of the band’s drive. The Germans are doing it all tongue-in-cheek, and they have tremendous amount of fun doing it. Right or wrong, this is the mindset which stuck with me throughout The Final Journey, and through this angle I was able to enjoy the album tremendously and could recommend it wholeheartedly to those less-than-serious blackish/pagan metal lovers. If you want to drink up to your eyeballs while listening to a folk metal album go get some Korpiklaani, and if you want to have serious approach Moonsorrow may suit you better, but if the fun, a little cartoonish, movie-like atmosphere is what you are after Black Messiah delivers it in abundance on The Final Journey.

Symphonic intro blended into the opener Windloni may not be the best representation of the album, but beginning with Der Ring Mit Dem Kreuz, the folk infused melodies are taking over and the variety of vocals, from black screeches to In Extremo drunken shouts to clean choruses, fill up the room. Black Messiah can get a bit more serious, borrow a riff from the late Immortal/I and model Ensiferum thrash in their choruses (To Become a Man). Yet there is little animosity and little gnashing of the teeth in the songs on The Final Journey, and that is probably why many black metal fans could be denouncing it, while if taken for what it is the music is pretty catchy and satisfying. How can one not like the absolute killer melodies on Feld Der Ehre 2012 or Lindisfarne, the likes of which the Germans could have stolen from Russia while invading during WWII? It is true that some of the rhythms on The Final Journey are somewhat mechanical, while getting into a blastbeat or a certain pattern Black Messiah don’t bother changing much. Yet, the hooks are plenty, catchiness factor is through the roof and Zagan has considerable fiddle skills, which he doesn’t mind showing off on many a song, but especially on the instrumental cover of CandlemassInto the Unfathomed Tower.

The four song The Naglfar Saga fittingly closes the album, talking about those heroes who did not deserve Valhalla at the time of their passing. Saga requiring multiple personalities, the band combines clean baritone vocals, some female contributions (after all Mother Hel is invoked and has a song named after her) and spoken verses. The whole The Naglfar Saga composition has a bit more ominous and tragic feel than the rest of the album, putting out some blacker aspects of Amon Amarth in On Board, and sticking at times closely to the nautical theme in On Board and Sailing into Eternity.

The best advice for ingesting The Final Journey is to loosen up, disregard thin and no grit production, but enjoy the atmosphere since it is fun and plentiful.

Killing Songs :
To Become a Man, Feld der Ehre 2012, Lindisfarne, On Board
Alex quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by Black Messiah that we have reviewed:
Black Messiah - First War Of The World reviewed by Khelek and quoted 79 / 100
Black Messiah - Of Myths And Legends reviewed by Ross and quoted 90 / 100
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