Metaldays - 2017

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

We had actually planned on seeing Venom Inc. as the final band of the day, but the heavy rains earlier in the day had pushed the schedule back, so that the Polish black metal band Batushka now had this spot, and Venom Inc. didn’t play until much later.
Well, fair enough, we had caught a glimpse of Batushka at Copenhell earlier this summer, and were a bit curious about them as well.

So, what is Batushka?
According to ye olde interwebz, Batushka (and no, I’m not getting into finding all those Cyrillic letters on my Western keyboard) means Father, in the way that you would address a priest. It is, as mentioned, also a black metal band. Not the first one in history to include religious themes in their musical and lyrical universe, as I’m sure you know.
Batushka however, take it to a new level, at least as far as what I have seen. The eight members seen on stage keep quite silent about their identities, all clothing themselves in priestly garments with hoods and masks covering their faces. Priestly in cut, but covered with more death invoking symbols than your ordinary clergyman. The stage was also littered with burning candles (when the wind didn’t blow them out), an altar, and other stuff, making it look like a rather evil quire. The dark, red light which was predominately used helped underscore this point well.

Musically, we got a dose of melodic black metal, raw and wicked, which was the foundation for the combination of your regular black metal shrieks and more Gregorian styled chanting. I have no idea what the lyrical content may have been, neither do I know a single song. I didn’t know the band from before, and they did nothing to invite the audience.

Whether or not it was a good show is really hard to say. I mean, it had nothing of what I usually go for in a show. There was absolutely no contact with the crowd, all of the members of the band stood completely still, with the exception of the vocalists sometimes raising their hands a bit. There was no action to speak of, nor was there any form of party.
Yet, somehow, it was strangely compelling, in a sense mere words fail to describe. I wasn’t completely hooked, but I kept wanting to see more, to be more immersed in the strange atmosphere of the band. If it would have helped if I had known their material beforehand is hard to say, but I guess it couldn’t have hurt.

How many here at Metaldays actually did know Batushka is equally hard to say. What I can confirm is that there were a hell of a lot of people present as the band played. Then again, nothing else was playing at the same time.
The Metaldays crowd did seem quite into it. Not that there was much movement or noise coming from the crowd either, but eyes were firmly fixed on the stage throughout, and there was a nearly, dare I say it, religious atmosphere over the place. This is, most likely, exactly what the band was going for, and that was achieved.

I’m not sure this show gave me a burning interest in delving deeper into this band on my own, but if they show up somewhere not too far away, I might just give the live show another go.

Latest uploads: