Reviewed: [January 2021]
Released [2021 Helter Skelter/Regain Records]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Portuguese black metal duo Satanize missed a golden opportunity to piss all over Christmas this year, issuing their sixth full length in mid-January instead of a month earlier, during the holiday season. But that seems to be something of theme for these guys, since three of their last four albums were issued a week or two after Santa came to town – with 2019’s Demolition Ritual being the outlier, coming in mid-February.
And while that’s probably reading way more into things than there really is, it is an odd coincidence. Just sayin.’ It’s not like these guys – who go by Reverend of Diabolical Services and Sinister Sorcery and Reverend of the Hell Legions and Macabre Tyranny – would have a hope in hell of staying off the “naughty” list in the first place. And Baphomet Altar Worship is true to form.
A word you often see associated with these guys is “bestial.” And that’s pretty spot on in just about every sense of the definition – save for ‘lacking intelligence or reason.” Because Satanize obviously know what they are doing and do it with undeniable purpose and zeal.
Baphomet Altar Worship is raw, crude and unrelenting black metal at its most primal. It is sheer release-the-hounds attack mode from the get-go, a full-frontal cascade of roiling guitar squalor, piston-driven drums and feral rasp on each of the nine tunes here.
The duo deal in simplicity and efficiency in extremus. There’s little in the way of dynamics – no real hooks to speak of, no choruses, no solos and only the odd drum fill – and just the barest essentials when it comes to song structure. Each track is essentially a few riffs stitched together and played over and over atop a blasting, lock-step tempo from start to finish. The brief heaving swells that could almost be described as breakdowns in “Barbarity Enthroned” and “Cavernous Onslaught” are pretty much it for variation.
Black metal purists will have little argument with these guys – although the sound here, while certainly rough, is dense and all-consuming and by no means the tinny, low-fi shit show that typically rates as “true.” But as has been the case since their full-length debut in 2009, Satanize boil black metal down to its essence, and puke it back up in all its bilious, hideous glory.
So while the holidays may be over, here’s to a new year of “Luciferian Thrones of Devastation,” “Merciless Profanation” and “Chariots of Nocturnal Wrath.” Can’t be any worse than last year, right?
1. Baphomet Altar Worship
2. Council of Nuclear Holocaust
3. Conjuration of Southern Elitism
4. Chariots of Nocturnal Wrath
5. Shrine of Antichrist
6. Merciless Profanation
7. Barbarity Enthroned
8. Luciferian Thrones of Devastation
9. Cavernous Onslaught
Reverend of Diabolical Services and Sinister Sorcery – barbaric skullhammers & poisonous hate commands (drums & vocals)
Reverend of the Hell Legions and Macabre Tyranny – bestial strings of holocaust & low pulse desecration (guitars & bass)