Reviewed: July 2021
Released: 2021, Petrichor
Reviewer: Kira Levine
Featuring ex-members of Avenger and Master’s Hammer, Bohemyst are a black/death quintet from Czechia. Čerň A Smrt is their first full-length release under this moniker.
“Bohemyst is a follow-up to Czech dark horde Avenger. Various personal and practical reasons led to quitting Avenger on its 25th anniversary (1992-2017) … Also featuring several (ex-)Master’s Hammer members the band has quite the experience of playing live as well as recording albums of impeccable quality. They hit the studio and managed to record a masterpiece in Czech metal history. “Čerň A Smrt” is without a doubt the album many people have been waiting for. Blackened metal with touches of death metal and hints of ancient Southern Bohemian heritage blend in together to create an album that borders pure magnificence.”
The introduction track transports the listener into the scene illustrated on the cover artwork for Čerň A Smrt, depicting a wordless, suspenseful experience. The title track (Czech for “black death”) follows swiftly after, clocking in at six minutes and thirty seconds, by far the longest offering on Bohemyst’s debut record. At such an early stage, the five-piece are already incorporating a melodic approach with their heavier black and death styles early on in the record, while still allowing the guitar solos (courtesy of Petr Rámus Mecák and Jirka Kocián) to be prominent.
“Krvehlas” (or “bloodshed”) further demonstrates their unique flair. The synths combined with the heavier elements create an eerie atmosphere, while Popel’s vocals continue provide some raw human emotion that can be felt in any language.
Whilst being one of the slowest of the ten chapters, “Na Umrlčích Prknech” is by no means the uneventful. Its pace allows for many tension building and fear-inducing moments. Ghastly sounds echo under Radek growling the song title, and will surely linger in the minds of all who hear it as one of the stand-out tracks.
“Paní Lesa”, a groovier side to the album, further shows Bohemyst’s ability to add flair. Infernits and Kapák from the rhythm section do a stellar job closing the first half of the record.
Making a slight detour from the earlier tracks, “Kosti” (which translates to “bones”) leads with a keyboard intro. A sinister laugh can be heard a couple of times, which further communicates the unsettling tone of the lyrics to international audiences (though the music indicates the mood well enough).
The listener is hit with everything at once right from the start of “Co Nelze Zapomenout”, which fires with all cylinders for just over four minutes. The vocals stay mainly in the black metal arena, apart from the momentary death growl, which add to the frenzied and hurried approach of the instruments. This chaotic, attention-grabbing number is the shortest on Čerň A Smrt, and is basically the polar opposite of track four. The English title of this song is “What can’t be forgotten”… and if definitely will not be!
Much like throughout track three, the contrast between softer and harsher instrumentation works well on “Nekromantika”. There is a touch of “Kosti” here too, with the creepy voices that can also be heard here. The brief clean lead vocals add another layer of intrigue.
“Do Chřtánu Smrti” makes the best use of switching between black and death vocals, with the alternating speed adding to the sense of anarchy that is projected by the visceral lyric delivery.
Many of the fine moments exhibited previously on Čerň A Smrt are incorporated on “Zvrácenosti Zvědavosti”, still managing to keep things exciting and interesting. At less than four-and-a-half minutes long, the album closer is far from the longest track but its dramatic ending will leave listeners curious for more.
Weird and wonderful, Čerň A Smrt highlights the band’s intriguing otherness not just with their Czech lyrics but also the bizarre elements in their music. A promising LP from Bohemyst. Not to be missed by fans of Marduk and Morbid Angel.
Radek Popel – vocals
Petr Rámus Mecák – guitar
Jirka Kocián – guitars
Honza Kapák – drums
František ‘Infernits’ Vávra – bass
2. Čerň A Smrt
4. Na Umrlčích Prknech
5. Paní Lesa
7. Co Nelze Zapomenout
9. Do Chřtánu Smrti
10. Zvrácenosti Zvědavosti