It’s Wednesday and you know what that means, right kids? Yes! You are exactly right! It’s time for a duo of Bucketheads to go head to head in covering the same record. On today’s docket, from the desolate, foreboding
forests of Norway mountains of Poland, we have the self-titled demo from Brzask. For this match-up, myself (Ted Berger) and Lee Ferguson will don our corpsepaint to evaluate these newcomers. Will we both come to the conclusion that this release can be scored as gr1m and tr00, or will one of us decry the release as false metal? Stay tuned to find out, true believers!
Lee’s Score: 5.7/10
Alright Ted, we’re doing this. Let’s go burn down some churches! Wait, no? I mean, let’s review the debut EP/demo from Brzask! Black metal from Poland, oh fuck yes. Without question, this genre has not had the same cultural impact in North America that it has over the years, especially in the 90’s in many European countries. But we’ve had our taste of the proverbial black metal borsch on this continent thanks to the likes of the godfathers of said genre Venom and Mayhem and the slew of other followers whose names remain illegible on hundreds of thousands of black and white band t-shirts and merchandise.
Brzask do not sway too far from the formula that black metal is so deeply rooted in. The opening “Intro” on Brzask throws in some enticing atmospherics and doom-laden percussion that quickly dissolves into a predictable black metal barrage. Acidic and high-pitched cackling vocals, blast beats all up in your grill and guitars that portend the end of days. “Brzask II (Wind Incantation)” gets the largest rise out of me, with its gloomy intro and a killer opening…scream? Groan? Vomitation? It’s fucking dope. Brzask then do it again on “Brzask III (Crimson Dawn Ritual),” which has a bone-chilling opening minute only to swerve into all the black metal adages. My middling score here reflects both my intrigue at what this band seems capable of and my disdain for the repetitive black metal cliches. You do have my attention Brzask, maybe it just takes a few church burnings? Also, a slight boost for a fucking killer album cover. That art is so damn menacing!
Ted’s Score: 7.3/10
Sounds like we’re on the same page here Lee. The members of Brzask are familiar with the formula for quality black metal and follow it to a T, with the exception of almost more gurgly death metal vocals. Which can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, they stay the course and follow a tried and true way of writing that stays honest to the heart of black metal stylings. But on the other hand, it deprives them of any identity to distinguish them from other groups within the genre. The most distinctive thing I’ve noticed about this EP is that the recording quality is light years beyond a lot of black metal acts I’ve listened to. Maybe that’ll get them thrown into the false metal pile by BM elitists but, fuck ‘em. I like recordings that don’t sound like they were done out of the dumpster behind your uncle’s failing auto-shop.
What’s unfortunate about this release is that it lacks that certain something I need to hold my interest or separate them from their contemporaries in the genre. There is no question in my mind that they are talented and professional musicians who know what they are doing and need to provide a solid recording. To me, they are missing a sense of permanence; I’ve listened to this EP countless times and it just becomes background noise to me that is indistinct from the genre as a whole. However, I know I’m not the target audience as black metal isn’t really my bag. However, when you consider the fact that release is the first demo, which was released in May, for a band that only formed sometime last year and that the songwriting and recording has a better quality than the official label releases of some other black metal bands plus there is no indication that they have no ties to any white supremacy/nationalist ideological groups tells me they have a bright future ahead of them.
Written by Ted Berger & Lee Ferguson
*Edited by Dominic Abate