With Halloween on 31 October and Samhain on 1 November both having longstanding connections with Satanism and paganism it seems like as good a time as any to have a look at a new black metal album.
During 1997, in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship of Poland, black metal band Non Opus Dei were formed by guitarist / vocalist Tomasz “Klimorh” Klimczyk, bassist / rhythm guitarist K’ris and drummer Radoslaw “Fux” Fuks.
As “Opus Dei” translates as “Work Of God” it’s reasonable to assume that the band’s name is intended to mean “Not The Work Of (The Christian) God” – about right for a black metal act, I’d Say.
The group’s debut album “Diabolical Metal” emerged in 2002 by which time the line-up was comprised of Klimorh, Fux, guitarist Krzysztof “Nex” Kułakowski and bassist Sarkueil.
By the time second album “Sem Al Diavol Va Porti Al Mal” was released in 2005 the band’s line-up had changed once more and it is only in the last few years that the current four-man group has been together.
Klimorh has been the only constant from the group’s beginnings, with a number of other bassists, guitarists and drummers coming and going over the years.
Since 2012 however the line-up has seen Klimorh joined by drummer Wojciech “Gonzo” Błaszkowski (joined for 2006’s “The Quintessence”), guitarist Horizon and bassist Isil (who both first appeared on 2013’s “Dziwki Dwie” release which was split with fellow Polish band Morowe).
This line-up’s first full studio album together (the band’s seventh) is the year’s “Diabel”, released in September on the appropriately named Witching Hour Productions label.
This album is described as being lyrically and conceptually “inspired by the cult of the Devil (Diabel) in Poland, with an emphasis on the territory of Warmia” and certainly starts off sounding fantastically demonic with the vocal introduction to opening track “Milk Of Toads” which sounds rather like their fellow countrymen Behemoth at times.
Aside from the evil sounding vocal stylings, the guitars, bass and drums are all very impressive. Gonzo’s drumming, particularly the bass drum patterns, are fast and furious and whilst not perhaps as interesting as some other bands’ drummers do point to an amazing stamina level!
Guitar-wise, there are plenty of traditional discordant black metal style riffs from Klimorh and Horizon, but also echoes of technical bands like Meshuggah and even Tool can be heard too. Isil’s bass playing is, as you would expect, solid and unfussy and anchors everything nicely.
As is often the case with this genre the lyrics are pretty much unintelligible and with at least some of them being in Polish too there’s no chance of me being able to understand them. However, knowing that they are related to the devil and being soundtracked by some really rather good black metal means that this is unimportant as the intended feeling is well conveyed to the listener anyway.
My favourite numbers here include the aforementioned “Milk Of Toads”, “Trickster – Shapeshifter” and “Gold-Finding Hen, Kiss-Finding Whore”.
I would say that “Diabel” is the Non Opus Dei’s best album to date, and hopefully they will continue to improve with future releases. The artwork is pretty striking too! Well worth checking out…
1. Milk Of Toads / 2. In The Angles Of Her Sigil / 3. Władca Ropuch / 4. Gold-Finding Hen, Kiss-Finding Whore / 5. The Other Side Of The Mushroom / 6. Pustka Twoja We Mnie / 7. Trickster – Shapeshifter / 8. Plony / 9. Oko Kruka, Głowa Anioła / 10. The Tenfold Gift