Mysterious Polish band Batushka evoke religious concepts in their black metal | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Mysterious Polish band Batushka evoke religious concepts in their black metal 

click to enlarge Batushka


Tomi Palinkas

The sound of sensational Polish band Batushka melds black metal with the grand, eerie chants of the Eastern Orthodox litany. They more or less play it straight, though they’re not a religious band. Batushka’s 2015 debut, Litourgiya—which featured lyrics in Russian and received well-deserved gushing reviews upon its release—has just received a deluxe reissue from Metal Blade Records, which snapped the band up and sent them on their first North American tour this summer. The live lineup includes eight people (including chanters) who conceal their identities but are rumored to be members of prominent Polish metal acts. Their showmanship is spectacular: hooded robes, masks, candelabras, altars, and ikons add to the numinous, otherworldly feel. Given the sneaking neotraditionalist streak at the heart of our new Russian overlords, Batushka’s haunting, savagely rhythmic, jaggedly grand music seems to dance on the edge of something that could unsettle even the most jaded listener, and is genuinely majestic in a way that many aspire to but few achieve.   v

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