Released: 2016, Osmose Productions
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Three years after the critically acclaimed “Son of the Morning”, Elderblood is back with their second assault “Messiah” in 2016. After some important line-up changes, the Ukrainians left the excellent US label Paragon Records to join Osmose Productions’ roster. Good decision. I’m sure this legendary label can make Elderblood bigger as they used to do it in the past for so many cult bands. For the ones who may not know it already, this Kharkiv-based duet is composed of Astargh and Odalv who are both former members of Nokturnal Mortum. Astargh was well-known for playing guitars on the great masterpiece “The Voice of Steel” and the epic live double album “Kolovorot”. Concerning Odalv, he used to play drums on the brilliant EP “The Taste of Victory”.
In other words, we can only expect something great with such a line-up. Released by Osmose a few months ago, this new opus is indeed a pure masterpiece of Symphonic black/death metal. “Messiah” doesn’t have anything to do with the Ukrainian black metal style to my great surprise. No folk influences, no drum machine, no raw sound. Here, the compositions are technical, modern and highlighted by a powerful production. After leaving Nokturnal Mortum in 2011, Astargh didn’t want to propose something similar to his previous act’s art but decided to explore other paths. I think he was right in doing so to the extent that his own creations turn out to be fantastic. The symphonic keyboards are absolutely stunning, being the source of the inspired melodies and epic atmosphere we can feel with pleasure throughout the album. The guitar solos are very well done and strengthen the melodic side of each song. The technical level is very high as well, especially when it comes to some devastating drumming parts. Thanks to their solid experience and innate talent, Astargh and Odalv are endowed with great musicianship and know perfectly how to build some memorable choruses. As for the lyrics, they don’t deal with Slavonic paganism and heritage at all (unlike most of their local counterparts) but lean more towards Satanism.
Elderblood is definitely one of the most talented Symphonic black metal hordes at the moment. That’s not surprising since the Ukrainian black metal scene has always been generating many outstanding bands through the years. They would really deserve to play at more important festivals and gigs in the future. “Messiah” is a huge slap to the ones claiming that this musical genre is dead. Impressive.
Review by Oliver M.