I wasn’t always a metalhead. In fact, I spent a good chunk of my high school years going through a goth phase where listened almost exclusively to bands like Bauhaus and The Cure. As a result, I’ve always gravitated towards black metal bands with clear gothic/post-punk influences, whether it’s a ‘pretty’ band like Amesoeurs or something uglier like Krieg. Polish quartet Medico Peste definitely wear their Bauhaus influences on their sleeves on their forthcoming four song EP Herzogian Darkness – in fact, it even closes with a pretty spot-on cover of “Stigmata Martyr.” More than that, though, the group’s songwriting takes the second wave Norwegian black metal template and combines it with a strong Bauhaus/Cure influence, making for a very enjoyable listen.
The EP opens with the title track, which is the most straightforwardly black metal track on the record and includes a guest vocal from Cultes Des Ghoules frontman Mark of the Devil. The guitar work in particular stands out on this track – instead of hyperspeed riffing or tremolo-picked melody lines, the track relies mostly on slowly picked arpeggios or angular chords atop drummer The Fall’s blastbeats. Standout second track “Hallucinating Warmth and Bliss” features a bass line straight out of Seventeen Seconds while vocalist Silencer evokes Peter Murphy with some remarkably emotive growls. The slow, moody “Le Delire de Negation” seems to draw inspiration from the more abstract, dramatic Bauhaus tracks like “Double Dare” or “The Spy in the Cab,” building atmosphere through the spaciousness of the arrangement.
All told, this is a really strong EP that does a very nice job of bringing together metal and non-metal elements into a cohesive, engaging 25 minutes of music. Hopefully Herzogian Darkness is meant to whet out appetites for a full-length sometime in the near future.
Herzogian Darkness will be available on March 30 via W.T.C. Productions.