Elderblood - Messiah
Osmose Productions
Symphonic Black Metal
7 songs (42'52")
Release year: 2016
Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Alex

In my quest and willingness to listen to just about any metal coming out of my home country of Ukraine I was recently genuinely impressed by a debut self-titled EP by GreyAblaze, so I decided then to check out GreyAblaze Astargh’s other project, perhaps his main band Elderblood, and it was very fortuitous 2016 release Messiah landed into my box at about the same time.

Whereas GreyAblaze was organic and personal, Messiah is anything but that. In place of atmospheric texture we have meticulous and bombastic symphonic black metal with polished production. Somewhat reminiscent of Necrophobic (but not as forward or blasting) and Lord Belial (yet not as overtly melodic), Messiah also brings in mid-era Dimmu Borgir swells of symphonic flair and melodic drama, perhaps betraying Astargh’s classical music training while doing so (a total speculation of mine since I'm not familiar with a man). To say atmosphere is not present on Messiah is actually incorrect, but the music is not about wondering around in the fog or falling down some claustrophobic cavern, instead entering tall, spire finished, obsidian colored hallways of a fantasy castle. Song titles suggest the focus is still about forces dark and evil, only here Satan is not a nasty, horrible, hairy beast, but a prim and proper creature wearing a spanking black suit made of expensive fabric.

Soaring moments continue to pear out on every composition and demand complete attention on Thagirion’s Sun. Percussion is solid on Invocation of Baphomet, and it is with these rhythms how you call on the Sabbat Goat to arrive. The spoken chilling vocals (Leviathan, Satana), samples (Devil in the Flesh), and cleaner choruses step out in front of symphonic walls to complete the picture. The closer Adamas Ater probably emphasizes symphonic approach the most. Messiah is a very even album, no weak tracks, but no astonishing absolute highlights either. I generally appreciated Elderblood efforts here, but feel that the acceptance of many other black metal fans will split along the lines of whether you believe the genre has to be about individualistic minimalism or strong modern musical arts. The fans of the latter camp will find a lot to like on Messiah.

Killing Songs :
Thagirion's Sun, Adamas Ater
Alex quoted 79 / 100
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