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Czort - Apostoł - 92%

Edmund Sackbauer, May 7th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, Under the Sign of Garazel Productions

Another top quality black metal release from Poland is what we got here. Having been formed in 2016 “Apostoł“ is already their second full length, following hot on the heels of their debut “Czarna ewangelia” from 2018. While maybe nothing out of the ordinary, this album is chock full of glorious riffs and melodies and should satisfy even the most demanding fan of traditional black metal.

The basics here are mainly taken from the second wave, but enhanced by some trademarks typical for extreme metal from Poland. While easily enjoyable from the first minute onwards, some of the patterns and lead lines have a more sophisticated and sometimes slightly unorthodox feel compared to most peers. Take as example track number seven “Dysonans Duszy”, presenting a main theme that sounds just a bit different and not like your standard harmony used for such kind of old school black metal. I am pretty sure that the lead melody of this track as well as some others will stick with you after the first listen.

“Apostoł“ comes across dismal and desperate, moody and nihilistic - despite all its directness and primitive origin this is black metal with a strong melodic component that’s enthralling, and a rhythm section that eschew blasting and battering, creating a nuanced and compelling momentum for all the sinister and penetrating, yet stunningly layered guitar work and the deep and roaring vocals. The guitar playing here is top notch with the axe-man spraying his memorable hooks and hefty chord attacks over the whole album. The harmonies channel moods of anguish and melancholy. There is a wailing and weeping sound in one of the recurring melodic motifs, and a mournful moodiness in the bass tones, all pitched against the raging tremolos and blast-beats.

The tempo varies, ranging from groovy mid-tempo stompers dominated by the prominent hook, to some faster sections. However, Czort do not dive into high-speed territory too often, so the music never gets too chaotic. The songwriting is quite mature for a pretty new band, with a lot of emphasis being put on the song structures and the build-ups. The album culminates in the final track “W sercu chaosu” with a length of seven and a half minutes, where the band showcases what they are all about.

The production is punchy without sounding too sterile. The mix is clear, giving each instrument enough room to breathe. The overall sound is a nice mixture of using modern possibilities without sacrificing the old-school vibes inherent in that kind of music, which is also reflected by the great cover artwork. This album is a fantastic piece of captivating metal, constructed and played with a lot of heart and soul. This album is an easy recommendation for fans of traditional and atmospheric black metal, and I can see a bright future for these lads.