Early spring was marked by the release of the new record Hexapoda Triumph from Belarusian black metal band Downcross via local underground label Cavum Atrum Rex. And with it they continue to spread their satanic beliefs through traditional black metal forms.
Downcross is a young band, but a productive one – two LPs in 2019, one EP in 2020, one LP in 2021 and here we go again, this year isn’t an exemption to the rule, they pursue their bloody traditions to the delight of all black metal purists. Hexapoda Triumph is a good example of how one can play the same 30+ years old traditional genre and still sound relevant. Downcross isn’t a typical copycat band, they also don’t bother with experimental or mainstream flows, and there’s nothing boring or dully predictable in their music as well. This is the main reason why Downcross is so pertinent even now, not to mention genuineness, one of the most important qualities. You can be insane pro, original innovator, multi-instrumentalist or stylistic shapeshifter, but if your heart is not in it, your music will be soulless, just one more dead band.
The sound is a little bit too raw for modern times, but we can digest this old school imitation with the greatest ease to convey true black metal spirit. This harsh soreness just highlights the minimalistic and ascetic mood of satanic dogmas back from the middle ages. There’s nothing unique on Hexapoda Triumph or progressive, just straightforward black metal hymns tinged in sacrilegious violence, full of blasphemous attacks. And apart from the evident fondness for Scandinavian orthodox black metal, there is very obvious influence of first wave of black metal, cheerful salutations to the origins of this heavy genre.
We can also rely on some kind of reprieves from this profane glory; three instrumentals are directed towards ambient side. “Counter-Initiation” with some screeching vocals sounds a little mournful, self-titled “Hexapoda Triumph” hints on minimalistic dungeon synth, and the closing track “Hypnosuggestion” is all about drone/noise monotony. Punk or even black n’ roll vibes are frequent visitors on this album, creating mischievous spirit and villainous playfulness (especially notable during the compositions “Trumpets salute the Demise of Death”, “Alphabeast Worldmurderer” and “Fist of Hubris”). At times we can hear something melodic, that destroys messiness and chaotic perception of the overall mindset, but that’s not enough to soften black metal’s spirit towards melo-black area. The fastest passages are the messiest ones, and during the deceleration we return again to minimalism. The level of aggression, on the other hand, doesn’t depend on the speed, the brutality is constant, and it’s not based in the background, it envelops the very core of the album, not allowing the light to transcend the dark side. Hexapoda Triumph is all about diehard praise to death in a most primitive and uncompromising way. That’s how true black metal works.
So, new album of these Belarusian blacksters can be considered as one more black metal release among tons of similar stuff. But in its candid purity all the primitiveness, all the atmospheric moodiness, all the raw noisiness and all the occult spirit revives black metal’s darkness to a new level. With clingy but appropriate relation to medieval religious visions that is clearly displayed on a creepy artwork (symbolical and animalistic death allusions), the latest opus of Downcross will never stray from the sacred road of satanic majesty.
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