When it comes to groundbreaking black metal, Poland is currently a hotbed of activity, producing an array of inventive bands. Perhaps the most creative are Poznań’s Profeci, a quintet guaranteed to fill even the most hardened listener with trepidation. Album number three, Ubóstwo, finds them continuing the good work of previous releases, whilst further refining their sound and setting a new watermark in terms of extreme metal.
Often credited as solely a black metal band, in truth Profeci are about so much more, and they’re wise enough to incorporate other elements and keep their sound fresh and exciting. The crashing power chords that herald the arrival of opening track ‘Stare Stworƶenia’ suggest a doom influence, they rise and fall like a guillotine blade, and are delivered with razor-sharp precision. Then. a thunderbolt cracking a leaden sky, the band arrive like a raging tempest, with drums beating a raining torrent, and the guitars swirling as if a tornado sweeping from speaker to speaker. Both atmospheric and evocative, it reminds me of early Paradise Lost; it is earthy and organic, and seems to have absorbed their native environment.
The notes and tonality that Profeci employ have been specially selected, they reach deep into the listeners soul, and resonate on some ancient, primordial level. It speaks of an age uncluttered by modernism and technology, and that becomes immediately apparent on the folky beginnings of ‘Jedność Wielości’. The choral chanting is suddenly curtailed by a bombastic blast of blackened thrash, it is rich in symbolism and suggests a culture crushed by commercial shenanigans, and it makes for a thought-provoking, startling sonic shift.
Much of this album weighs heavy, an ocean bearing down upon a shipwreck, and that’s achieved by the rhythm section of bassist Mikis and drummer Nieboga who conspire to provide plenty of punch on the bottom end. Yet, the band aren’t all crushing brutality, and ‘Beƶ Neij Byłbym Nicƶym’ adds a lot of light, the production gives the instruments plenty of room to breathe, and subsequently, Profeci become wide and expansive, and fill the emptiness like a nowhere ending sky. It adds layers of sound, almost imperceptibly, until the listener is totally encased in the band’s wonderfully gloomy sound. A snowball rolling down hill, it gradually takes on new form before turning into an avalanche which totally subsumes us.
Another epic track to bookend the album, ‘Dytyramb’ comes laced with rich embolism, and when added to a multidimensional sound, makes for an all-encompassing experience. Ubóstow evidences a band maturing exponentially, and is another sure step towards global recognition.
- Stare Stworƶenia
- Jedność Wielości
- Beƶ Niej Byłbym Nicƶym