Medico Peste - ב: The Black Bile
Season Of Mist
Progressive Black Metal
7 songs (50:04)
Release year: 2020
Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat

Hailing from Poland and featuring members of Mgła and Clandestine Blaze's live bands, amongst others, Medico Peste are back eight years after their debut album with ב:The Black Bile. They play a doomy, foreboding form of black metal that isn't really comparable to their more famed bandmates. It's far less dense, for one, less reliant on technical drumplay (although Desolator here (Bestial Raids) is a fine enough sticksman) and more on lengthy, almost meandering instrumental sections bookended with blasts of intense blackened blasting. On paper, this is all terrific, particularly with the themes of mental illness and frontman Lazarus' suitably deranged yowl, but the execution sometimes just doesn't work. The jazzy touch in the mid-section of opener God Knows Why is effective but the song as a whole is too long at over eight minutes, and following this with another eight minuter in All Too Human is a little perverse of the band. Sure, the slightly more Mgła-esque groove works, but the lengthy ambient interlude feels random and the riffing simply isn't hypnotic or varied enough to anchor the song.

Fortunately, things pick up thereafter, Numinous Catastrophy having a strange proggy touch that brings recent Opeth to mind and works despite the oddness, particularly when the band launch into a black metal gallop towards the end that's the heaviest thing on the album by miles. The overall effect is exactly the sort of sinister that the band miss hitting elsewhere. And it's a shame, because there are plenty of terrific moments here, such as Were Saviours Believers? and its use of cymbalwork alongside weird riffing that later takes off into blastbeats alongside dissonant notes. This album uses bass terrifically, often very differently to usual black metal ways; it carries much of the off-kilter Skin atop its back as the other instruments fall away and return, for example. Much to praise when examined closely, but The Black Bile as a whole falls short of true greatness. It's by no means a disaster, as there's plenty to enjoy, and fans of proggy black metal should definitely lend Medico Peste their ears. There's much promise of better things to come, though; here's hoping the band don't take another eight years before releasing another album!

Killing Songs :
Numinous Catastrophy, Were Saviours Believers?
Goat quoted 65 / 100
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