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Bat Magic > Feast of Blood > 2021, Cassette, Sore Ear Collective (Limited edition) > Reviews > Heimir
Bat Magic - Feast of Blood

Feast of Blood - 100%

Heimir, October 15th, 2022
Written based on this version: 2021, Cassette, Sore Ear Collective (Limited edition)

Certainly one of the best debuts in recent memory, Bat Magic's wonderfully-titled "Feast of Blood" lives up to its name.

That is to say it is a feast - each indulgent acoustic passage, fretboard-spanning riff and wide-mouthed vocal line is rich food for the discerning black metaller. And that is also to say there is blood - plenty. Discordant, almost panic-chordy riffs and a production aesthetic which suggests the tape was recorded on damaged mics in a cave see to that.

Unsurprisingly, the tape is intense. At least one part of the drummer's body is always moving quickly. The guitars are usually quick and insistent, with repetitious riffs that allow no breaks or rests. The vocals manage to be simultaneously hissing and shouting, a sound that is vicious but unsettlingly human. And the chord patterns are just as sincere, from the most hateful and dissonant to the most melodic and wistful.

The obvious comparison for any band working with vampire imagery is Les Légiones Noires, and some of that can be heard here. Lower-range single-note riffs circling around the tonal center will always recall Mütiilation, while those aforementioned chaotic riffs are reminiscent of Black Murder - hell, the organs and epic guitar solo toward the end of the tape even suggest Aäkon Këêtrëh. But, despite the clear influence, Bat Magic is distinguishably itself. I talk about this a lot in my reviews for this site, but black metal has a great many torchbearers and just as many cheap imitators. Bat Magic is a torchbearer, and an uncharacteristically successful one at that. It takes great skill to write riffs that can be repeated as long as these are without ever getting boring, it takes great skill to write drums that so flawlessly toe the line between primitive and masterful, and it takes great skill to sound this nasty and raw.

Of special note are the lyrics. Far from the often zany and poorly-translated horror stories common to vampiric black metal, the lyricism here is positively literary. More than that, it is reflective of a tortured mind - not "tortured" like an angsty teenager watching Mayhem documentaries on his laptop after dark, but "tortured" like a man who has seen the depths of human vileness, who has felt the sting of betrayal and bitter heartbreak, who is damned to revisit over and again his own failures and shortcomings, and who yet presses on in the face of a life intent on destroying him. In this way, if you'll indulge a film metaphor, his vampirism is more Oldman than Lugosi - not a monster, not exactly, but a self-aware beast, both victim and perpetrator, mourner and murderer.

This is an absolute must-listen for the true black metaller. No rockstar bullshit, no clean production, no sold-out live shows, no fucking Instagram page. Just black metal by and for the devoted. Listen now or pose eternally.