Something that people in underground metal circles love to do is to trace back the sound of a new band to find the origins of influences. What lies at the root is Black Sabbath if you go back enough but the trace lines at this point have branched out so wide that the full map of modern underground metal would be represented with no less than a forest. A particular branch that we are interested in here is the one that goes from ‘80s metal to Mortuary Drape, then to more extreme acts such as Cultes des Ghoules, Spite, or in today’s case, Ljosazabojstwa.
Ljosazabojstwa have been quietly putting out material with no real online presence or promotion for the last five years. Even then, their music has somehow found its way to listeners and one thing that was clear from the first demo is the strict old school occult feel of their sound. It is easy to hear pieces and bits of Mortuary Drape or Master’s Hammer in the occult part of their sound as well as Archgoat or Beherit from more bestial side of things. Their influences, however, do not quite end there.
“Early Mortuary Drape and Mystifier are among our major musical influences,” say the band themselves. “Along with early Slayer, Candlemass, Dream Death, Master’s Hammer, Infernal Majesty, Krux, Root, Kat, Grotesque, Merciless, Goatlord… Even some Macabre and Impetigo. The list goes endless actually. Our guitar player has some wicked crush on Tony Martin-era Sabbath, that can also be heard (or he wants to think that way).”
After a demo and two EPs, they released their first full-length. It is titled Głoryja Śmierci in their native tongue, Belarussian, just like any previous material and their lyrics. The language is definitely an integral part of the band: “LSZB will always be a band performing blasphemous chants in our mother tongue. Kryŭjan language is almost dead at the moment, only used by maybe 10% of current population (quite an optimistic statement actually). Dead language, dead music.”
When a band have this type of occult sound in their releases, one cannot help but wonder if this is just a musical direction or they also have any other interest in such topics like occultism or esoterica. In Ljosazabojstwa’s case, it seems to be much more straightforward than that.
“Best occult practice nowadays is intoxicating yourself, and we do it with success. Only death is real. Satan does not want you clever or occult or enlightened, He wants you DEAD.
All our songs are just an act of barbarian savagery. We intoxicate ourselves with some substances, be them legal or not, and play some fucking Black Metal of Death. Without any consciousness, but with a vengeance. With death and blasphemy being our main ‘lyrical themes’ and goal, we can’t say anything except LSZB is an antichristian, antilife band. Spread hatred and hell!”
Their new album is musically, stylistically, and thematically consistent with their back catalogue: hymns of death with no shortage of clean guitar leads and riffs that flourish between their harsh black/death metal attack. The songs are usually long-form as each of them is around eight minutes long or more. This was the case with Ljosazabojstwa since the first demo, maybe their style was a bit too long for the EP but on this new album it doesn’t really feel like the songs should be cut shorther or anything. The length of the songs is justified with good songwriting, mid-sections and breaks similar to Cultes des Ghoules that let the songs breathe. They change between faster sections and slower, doomier ones – and when you give it a careful listen their songwriting actually comes off very clean and nuanced while you could possibly miss it with a quick glance at their style. They have a good balance between letting songs draw out with slight progressions and repeating some motifs (like a riff from the beginning of the song that comes back later) just enough that each song is coherent in itself.
They have their own sound within the realm of old school metal as the conversation with the band reveals their thoughts on innovation and traditions in metal: “There are always bands pushing the boundaries of the style forward, both from the old and modern days. We had Legend, mixing some wicked fusion with proto-‘viking’-metal, we had Voivod making something completely unique and we had Blasphemy, Sadistik Execution and Bestial Warlust making ‘war metal’ decades before it became a major trend; or unique one and the only Timeghoul. On the other hand there are modern bands like Chthe’ilist / Zealotry, Blood Incantation, Voidspawn or even Negative Plane or Predatory Light that create absolutely unique and avant-garde music on a traditional basis. And there is another hellish cauldron, with bands like Grave Desecrator, Diabolic Night or Possession, making hands down GREAT traditional sounding metal old school way, that we also accept and welcome as metal fans. You can make something new in literally ANY style, without leaving its borders. Just remember Dream Death playing Celtic Frost better than Celtic Frost, or Sacrilege doing Bolt Thrower riffs several years before the Warmasters themselves. Playing the traditional way is fine with us, we feel comfortable with our style and it’s slow (if any) development with every release.”
The band come from a corner of the Earth where no internationally popular metal scene exists. “Kryŭjan scene is dead and buried, as it always was,” they confirm. “It mostly consists of dorks and mallcore kids, listening to Rammstein all day long. However, several bands are decent. You should probably check out Ulvkros — great, catchy melodic black metal. Second output of Pa Vesh En is great, and latest Reido release is a must listen for anyone into mid-era Esoteric. Also, Śmiercieslaŭ is a great black/thrash metal band, that recorded one of the best demos in Kryŭjan metal history (not sure if they are active now). Kruk’s demo tapes have always been essential for our underground as well.”
Perhaps a bit heavier and more chaotic than what we usually deal with here in Into the Coven section, Ljosazabojstwa’s music at its heart is still very firmly rooted in old school occult metal. Their new album Głoryja Śmierci, just like the rest of their discography, is something that deserves more attention and recognition if you are looking for a mix of Mortuary Drape and Necros Christos. The album is coming out on CD so far from Godz ov War Productions. The band had their demo “Staražytnaje Licha” released on vinyl in the past by Drakkar USA and the label had also planned to do a mLP of “Sychodžańnie” before they went out of business. The band have no current plans for a vinyl pressing of either the EPs or the new album at the moment but they are open for deals.