Friday, 26 March 2021

Satanize - Baphomet Altar Worship


Labels: Helter Skelter Productions/Regain Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 20 Jan 2021


Tracklist:


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



They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder. Well to me it's silence that does that. I'm poking fun at myself here, because after a few days of "silence" I feel compelled to write again and this time I'm visiting the dark satanic realm of Portuguese black metal band Satanize. The band, in it's various forms, has been delivering black metal since 2001 and has been one of a clutch of bands to have dragged Portugal up to the higher peaks of modern day genre proponents, alongside Black Cilice, Dolentia, Vetala and Mons Veneris to name a few. Baphomet Altar Worship is the band's latest offering, having been released in January via Helter Skelter Productions with distribution via Regain Records.


To be totally honest, I’ve sat down on more than one occasion this week with the intention of writing this review and then I’ve been hit with writer’s block. It happens, especially when I’ve been trying to push myself to write more. I’m surrounded by music when I’m not working, yet I’ve found myself preferring silence recently. Portugal’s Satanize are my chaperones for this evening though and their black metal is billed as the blackest, in some quarters. 


Beginning with the title-track ‘Baphomet Altar Worship’, their sound is definitely raw and barbaric, with faster tempos, scathing vocals and instrumentation that nestles deeper in the mix, providing a sinister backdrop to it all. This isn’t war metal or whatever you want to call it. It’s just balls-to-the-wall black metal that takes no prisoners. ‘Council Of Nuclear Holocaust’ continues where the album’s opener left off with a constant battery of epic proportions. I’ve not witnessed black metal this relentless for years. It’s almost grinding in it’s intensity.


The pauses between songs almost seem pointless as ‘Conjuration Of Southern Elitism’ hits the speakers. I guess I’m used to black metal being a bit more atmospheric and introspective. Maybe that’s where I’ve been going wrong because this is neither of those things and just keeps steamrolling on with total abandon. Given that Satanize released a split with Black Cilice you might be expecting something more depressive, but that’s just not their style, as ‘Chariots Of Nocturnal Wrath’ demonstrates. There’s simply no let up in their approach or delivery. 


There are trace elements of death metal within the band’s sound, especially within the guitars. After the sampled intro of ’Shrine Of Antichrist’, Satanize hit top gear once again with obscenely fast percussion guitars work that encompasses that aforementioned death metal influence, mixing it with precise and anti-human black metal sentiment, which is more than matched by the vocals once again. It’s a great way to drag listeners into the album’s second half. 


‘Merciless Profanation’ is a very apt title as Satanize show no mercy with their full-on approach to black metal. The only other band I’ve heard in recent times that comes close to this is India’s Heathen Beast and if you’re familiar with that band, you’ll hopefully know what I mean. Satanize though have nailed their song-writing to the extent that distilling things into a three to four-minute song leaves both the feeling of fulfilment and the longing for more within the listener.


There’s almost a martial, hypnotic stance from the band on ‘Barbarity Enthroned’, as they lay waste to all and sundry with even more urgency than before. It’s oddly infectious, albeit only for fans of the more extreme end of the metal spectrum. There’s variation within the songs here, but it’s subtle. Penultimate song ‘Luciferian Thrones Of Devastation’ begins with the most scathing screams on the record and what ensues is equally as horrid. It just drives itself forward at ridiculous pace, not flinching or stopping for breath and in doing so it leaves an indelible mark on your psyche. 


Album closer ‘Cavernous Onslaught’ puts it best though with bass that rumbles deeper than ever, razor-sharp riffage, icy blasts, metallic cymbal mayhem and truly possessed lower-register screams that seem distorted at times due to the abandon with which they’re delivered. The closing bars of feedback almost act as respite from Satanize and their utterly hellish extremity. If you want music that truly tests you and leaves you both broken, and cleansed, then this album if for you. Totally devastating. 


You can witness that madness for yourself by streaming and/or purchasing Baphomet Altar Worship for yourself on all formats here:-



Satanize doesn't have a social media presence as far as I can tell.


Helter Skelter Productions - https://www.facebook.com/helterskelterproductions

Regain Records - https://www.facebook.com/regainrecords.se

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