We’ve come a long way from “No Core No Mosh No Trends No Fun” haven’t we? Straying incredibly far from Euronymous’ proposed attitude for black metal, we now have a record from Root guitarist Blackosh‘s eponymous solo project about three things that I like: Whores, Booze & Black Metal. Combining good things doesn’t always work though; have you ever made a steak, scotch, and hamburger shake? I haven’t either, but it would probably be repulsive. With Blackosh throwing those three things into a blender, there’s no guarantee that his milkshake will bring any accolades to his yard; but damn right, I’m going to review it and let you know how it turns out. And I don’t even have to charge!
While the press release said this was heavily influenced by old-school black metal, the music says otherwise. Playing something that sounds to me like latter day Behemoth mixed with Mysticum, this isn’t a nostalgic throwback to the days of old nor even to Root‘s own back catalog. Blackosh‘s vocal performance sounds like what would happen if Rainer Landerfmann fronted a punk band, and this wild and expressive character may prove to be a bit divisive. The drums are also apparently played by a real human being, namely Cepa from Forgotten Silence, a band I’m not familiar with in the slightest. This is odd, as they sound rather artificial in both execution and production and lack even a hint of intensity because of it.
Blackosh has made a record where I can’t totally lambaste the content because it’s competent and not offensive in the Illud Divinum Insanus way, but it’s largely impossible to remember much about what happens throughout Whores, Booze & Black Metal. “Kurvy, Chlast a Black Metal” has a bunch of black-death riffs and mechanical drumming, and as far as this stuff goes it isn’t nadir but it’s incredibly unremarkable. At the 3:13 mark the most stock Demigod riff since 98% of the material from Demigod hits, and while I know it’s well done from a technical standpoint and executed to a tee from a stylistic one, that doesn’t mean it’s interesting, worthwhile, or engaging. The d-beat influence on “Kancelar s Cislem 666” brings a bit of energy to the table with the punk leanings thrown into the mix, but this excitement is short-lived. None of the riffing sticks to the ribs and instead resides firmly in that gray zone of technically competent but wholly unexciting material where the records we hear once and then promptly forget about reign supreme.
Perhaps this was all leftovers from Root‘s lengthy career? I can’t be certain, but the main similarity Whores, Booze & Black Metal bears to Hell Symphony is that some parts really don’t work. “Bic z Lenja” has an incredibly annoying introduction that sounds like a poorly executed parody of a hymn, and when it kicks in it sounds like what would happen if Behemoth pilfered the chorus section of Emperor‘s “Into the Infinity of Thoughts” and sapped it of all vitality. There’s also a vocal bit that sounds like Blackosh doing an impression of what a DJ remixing a rabid dog’s growling would sound like, leaving me at once scratching my head and pounding it on of my desk. “Peklo Nas Bavi” trudges along with more stock riffing for a gratuitous five and a half minutes, and no matter how many times I listened I couldn’t remember a single point of interest. If your curious friend were to ask you to play something that sounds like black-death, you wouldn’t be wrong to play a riff from “Vi Spiknuti se Satanem” but your poor companion would be pretty underwhelmed and probably associate boredom with the black-death tag from then on.
I remember one commenter saying that they like AMG because even though there are doubtlessly records that make us look at a blank page and say “fuck this album” we still give our honest opinion about them and try to make an entertaining read out of a bad situation. Upon reading that comment, “dammit, I have to review that Blackosh record still” immediately popped into my mind. I could dissect every song and explain why it does nothing for me, but I think that ties it together better than saying “this sounds like the most boring aspects of Behemoth mixed with Mysticum minus everything that makes them good with various other bits sprinkled on top” six times in a row and calling it a day. Whores, Booze & Black Metal is like driving past a sign telling you the next exit takes you to the twelfth largest pumpkin in North Dakota: if you choose to drive onwards and skip it, you’re not missing a damn thing.