Our own Grymm poised no shortage of praise before Outre‘s Ghost Chants in 2015, and that admiration for the album stuck long enough for it to post a respectable spot on his year-end list. I was too pissed off by the year’s dismal death metal output to look into the album at the time, but later listens revealed it to be just as described: a grating bramble of black metal, supported by a remarkably evil vocal performance. While Biesy‘s Noc Lekkich Obyczajów isn’t exactly the album’s successor, it’s within spitting distance, also heavily reliant on sounds pioneered by Ulcerate and Deathspell Omega. Kronos-bait, Grymm-bait, whatever you want to call it, Biesy would seem to have a lot to offer. It’s a shame that some aren’t theirs to give.
Biesy shares a drummer and vocalist with Outre, though if I didn’t know better, I’d think their six-stringer was identical as well. At times, Noc Lekkich Obyczajów, seems nothing more than a step further in the brutal direction from Ghost Chants; the crossing from black metal to death metal. The album opens on the big, groove-driven “Każdego dnia,” which embodies monotony in its constant repetition of the same melodic figure — or slight variations — for five minutes. It’s a good stab at text painting (the title translates to “Every Day”), but not the best way to grab my attention and hold it. There are a few other cool riffs and smart songwriting choices across Noc Lekkich Obyczajów, like when “Rzucony W Przestrzeń” breaks out in a music box melody played by chimes and broken glass halfway through, an interesting sidestep and one which reinforces the album’s gray depiction of urban existence. These moments do not make up for the album’s considerable flaws.
Glossing over the album’s super-loud production1, Noc Lekkich Obyczajów‘s downfall comes from its stark lack of originality, at times to the point of clear plagiarism. The title track opens with a complete rip-off of Ulcerate‘s “Omens,” slightly cheapened by replacing a few notes with a repetition of the note before. It’s a complete underdevelopment of a mimic riff — something meant to evoke the same feeling as the source material without being recognizably the same, like how bjoriffs all sound like Slaughter of the Soul but could still pass in a lawsuit. Bands do this all the time; you take apart other music and, after some amount of processing, put it back together differently to make it your own. In fact, this is essentially the only way to make music short of aleatoric. Too many of Biesy‘s riffs, however, feel conspicuously underdeveloped — far too much so for an album with these conceptual pretensions.
Furthering this trend, “Czerń Nas Prosi” opens sounding conspicuously similar to Ulcerate‘s “Fall to Opprobrium” with a less gritty Deathspell vibe. Biesy‘s modus operandi for riffing seems to be to crop a few notes from Ulcerate or DsO into a more straightforward rhythmic structure and repeat. Most of Noc Lekkich Obyczajów oscillates between mid-paced grooves and blasting, the former of which almost always makes me scratch my head and wonder which Deathspell Omega song they’re trying to clumsily recapture. “Dearth” or “Salowe Vision,” I wonder? Maybe “The Crackled Book of Life?” No matter the source material, Biesy‘s versions of these riffs blur into Biesy‘s own riffs, so much that it’s hard to tell what the band was aiming for or what new ideas they have to add. At some point it doesn’t matter if they’re knowingly copying or just drawing inspiration; it’s just not nearly as well-executed as the source. It’s a shame that great drum and vocal performances are constantly overshadowed by all of this.
Ulcerate and Deathspell Omega have made their careers on pushing boundaries and creating music which tears stark beauty from desolation and precarious solace from nihilism; this album does nothing of the sort. It is almost entirely drab and monotone, and in those rare moments when it decides not to be, it always calls to mind music far superior. It lacks the depth of its influences and the innovation of contemporary bands similarly influenced — none of the 20th-century art-music from Ad Nauseam or Baring Teeth, none of the murky death metal of Abyssal or Mitochondrion. I wanted to love this album for its style and concept but learned to dislike it because of its considerable lack of things to contribute to that style. It is endlessly loud, unoriginal, and above all uninteresting: something I hoped this kind of music would never be.
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Third Eye Temple
Releases Worldwide: September 9th, 2017