Review: Sothoris “Wpiekłowstąpienie” [More Hate Productions / Misantropia Records / Old Metal Rites / Manifestum Productions]

Review: Sothoris “Wpiekłowstąpienie” [More Hate Productions / Misantropia Records / Old Metal Rites / Manifestum Productions]

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In the first days of January Polish extreme band Sothoris has returned with their new record Wpiekłowstąpienie with the assistance of More Hate Productions, which focuses on death and black metal releases from all over the world. Finnish Misantropia Records also distributed this album, together with an underground label Old Rites from Brazil. Sothoris is a rather young band, this is their second full-length album, which is once again aimed on atmospheric side of black metal and melodic side of death metal (but this is not melodic death!). And once again it was a win-win for both sides; these Polish guys really know how to combine black with death metal making it an independent musical style.

There was a four-year gap between the LPs, and this record was really worth all the waiting – well-considered, relatively catchy, painfully atmospheric and aggressively piercing. It’s difficult to say about the past experience of the musicians, they were never spotted in other metal projects, but regardless, it seems like they were born from tenebrous loudness. They are equally gifted in disciplined and traditional structural parts, as well as in disharmonic and messy swings – their music balances on the verge of orderly classical education and chaotic and profound dissonance of the darkness itself. And that’s not a frequent phenomenon, when pure and meticulous parts aren’t engulfed by discordant flashes of overpowering destruction. Strange, but in the case of Sothoris, we can easily describe their music as harmonic discord.

This album sounds really dark, almost in a dreadful way, despite the lack of keyboards that are usually responsible for symphonic gloominess and horror ambient mood. This sophisticated mysticism envelops the very core of this album, resurrecting the blasphemous and satanic lyrics into the palpable shape. Yes, all the songs are performed in their native tongue, so, not everyone can enjoy their deepness, but still, this Slavonic touch adds some unique and artistic peculiarity. The album’s title can be translated as ‘Descent into Hell’, and that’s an accurate name, this album is full of inner demons and violent sparks of death. It’s also interesting to observe how melodic parts are integrated into musical pattern, making it more comprehensive and balanced, without softening brutal and fierce spirit of Wpiekłowstąpienie. The same is with the pace; it gallops from abnormally rapid black metal to almost cold and static doom/death metal (the title track “Wpiekłowstąpienie”), but always one step forward before creating raw messiness. Sothoris plays with the fire, sometimes their music is so complexed and multilayered, that it smacks of cacophonic and illusionary chaos. However, they manage to stay sane in this semi-psycho area, also safely remaining in traditional black/death metal realm. Quite an experience!

There is even something about clichés; when you consider comparing this music with another Polish death/black metal monsters (like Behemoth, Hate or Belphegor), surprisingly, but this album is a solid example of this phenomenon. You just know that Sothoris is from Poland like on an instinctual level. Juicy riffs are the foundation of every song, along with cohesive melodies, atmospheric moodiness and emotionally low screams. Not quite technical, but still with a kind of progressive touch, this album is on the verge of mature eagerness to dive into experimental mire of thousand opportunities. Acoustic elements (“Proroctwo”) highlight the morose temper, while monotonous bridges with chant-like singing lines (“Człowiek z Marmuru” and “Wpiekłowstąpienie”) remind of occult rites. “Opus Dei” parades traditional melodic black/death vibes, “Przykazanie śmierci” pays homage to heavy metal, and “Requiem dla hien” unlocks the mysteries of many-faced avant-garde. So, I’m at a loss, is this supposed to be a classical release or it’s safe to consider that Sothoris gonna befriend experimental paths?

It’s exciting to analyze a little deeper their cover art, seemingly it is gory and bloody with all the aggressive colors. But it is also illustrated in a pretty abstract manner, opening plenty of possibilities to interpret these subconscious matters. So is the music, so bloody traditional and decent, but under these primitive purisms lie layered labyrinths of unexplored.

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