It has been a tumultuous few years for Polish black metal outfit Batushka since they released their bewitching 2015 opus, Litourgiya. As of December 2018, there are two versions of the band—one helmed by Krzysztof Drabikowski, one by Bartłomiej Krysiuk, both of whom insist they kicked the other out of Batushka. Hospodi is the initial release from Krysiuk’s version, and presents a slick, spooky take on modern black metal that—thanks to an aesthetic heavily influenced by the Eastern Orthodox Church—is more outright spiritual than satanic. The stately “Wieczernia” indulges in some black ’n’ roll moments, while the more atmospheric “Polunosznica” is punctuated by otherworldly vocals and furious blastbeats, and doomy album closer “Liturgiya” finishes off the ritual with an echoing liturgical chant.

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