Blood Of Kingu - Dark Star On The Right Horn Of The Crescent Moon - (9/10)
Published on September 20, 2014
Dark star rising.
Roman Saenko is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating figures operating in black metal circles today. Although an elusive character, he has made a profound mark upon the underground with ventures including Drudkh, Astrofaes, Hate Forest, and Rattenfänger. Originally conceived as a solo project for the debut De Occulta Philosophia, Blood Of Kingu has since expanded its ranks to include Thurios (Drudkh, Astrofaes, Hate Forest, Rattenfänger), Kretchet (Drudkh, Astrofaes, Rattenfänger), Vlad (Drudkh, Rattenfänger), and Yuriy (Violent Omen). In other words, these gentlemen have a long history of working together. Next in a long line of milestones in Ukranian extreme metal, Dark Star On The Right Horn Of The Crescent Moon is exactly as grandiose as its title would suggest.
Steeped in the mythologies of Sumerians and the Indo-Aryans, Blood Of Kingu is an esoteric take on the nationalistic and pagan themes of Saenko’s other projects. A musical successor to the raw aggression of Hate Forest, Dark Star pushes the violent outburst to new heights, interweaving Lovecraftian black metal with a caustic death metal assault. Those incredible signature riffs are thrown into the bubbling kettle together with furious blastbeats, moody keyboards, and Saenko’s unhinged mix of death growls and throat singing. Both De Occulta Philosophia and the follow-up Blood In The House Of The Scorpion prominently featured tribal drums and moody slower sections. These elements have almost completely been stripped away, with the double-edged outcome of streamlining the overall direction of the album, while toning down the oddity-factor.
The Babylonian god Kingu being killed by Marduk
Although Dark Star virtually shares an entire line-up with Drudkh, there is a paradoxical sense that Blood Of Kingu is finally manifesting itself as more than a side-project, and a venerable beast of its own. Brutal but majestic, wild yet controlled, the torrent of gargantuan riffs is intense and devastating. Thundering epics feel as raw and primal as ever, and Vlad’s resounding use of keyboards adds welcome depth without being obtrusive. Parallels to blackened death metal bands like Bölzer and Teitanblood arise from time to time, but the artisanship of Saenko always dominates with sound that bleeds the black Blood Of Kingu from every orifice.
Dark Star On The Right Horn Of The Crescent Moon basks in the unforgiving blare of ancient gods making war. Blood Of Kingu are their mighty heralds, and the rest of us merely witnesses of their divine paths. Overwhelming and enigmatic, after two albums of finding their footing this feels like a magnum opus. A massive stride out of the shadow of Drudkh, this is up there with The Most Ancient Ones and Autumn Aurora, which should speak for itself. Bow to the bringers of pestilence!