Label: Lunar Apparitions
Genre: Black Metal
Release Date: July 09, 2017
For Fans Of: Bekëth Nexëhmü, Black Cilice, Striborg
Let’s get this out of the way up top, this is not a new release, in fact it dates back to 2017, however, Bašmu has been a musical obsession of mine for the past few years and when I saw that “VVitchblood”, previously only released digitally and on cassette, was getting a CD release, I saw a perfect opportunity to talk about an artist that I feel is criminally underrated. In addition to this release, Bašmu released a new album,“The Encircling”, earlier this year and it is one of my favorite black metal albums that has come out in 2020.
Bašmu is a one man black metal project that is the brain child of multi-instrumentalist Xûlthys, whose other projects include Girtablullû and Flešš. Bašmu was created in 2016 in Alberta, Canada and has been highly prolific since its inception, releasing 5 full length albums and 2 EPs, as well as contributing to a couple of split albums. The project has become known for its extremely raw sound that leans heavily into repetitive guitar riffing and horror movie-esque synthesizer work, which can admittedly fall into the realm of cheesiness from time to time. With this combination of sounds, Bašmu has crafted a niche that is far from accessible and definitely not going to be for everyone.
“VVitchblood” is the second album released by Bašmu. Straying away from the raw sound and long song structure of the debut album, Xûlthys uses this follow-up to craft the sound that would carry on to subsequent albums. Shifting the focus to atmosphere and synth use, Bašmu re-emerge with a sound that would stand out from the seemingly endless sea of raw and unoriginal black metal projects that occupy the internet. “VVitchblood” opens with the title track and immediately the listener realizes that this is not the same Bašmu that they have come to know, the track is 4 and a half minutes of ambient synths with wretched vocals and tremolo guitar that creates a truly hypnotic feeling that is as captivating as it is horrifying. The next track, “Majestic Serpentine Temples”, is pure raw black metal, it doesn’t abandon the synths completely, but if focuses more on guitar work and, while it is not the most original track ever written, it is a song guaranteed to please the most “kvlt” black metal nerds out there. These two songs perfectly encompass the juxtaposition of rawness and atmosphere that are displayed throughout the album. This dichotomy is commonplace in the black metal genre but the method in which Xûlthys incorporates the dissonant synths creates a sound that is truly unique to Bašmu.
I have been hoping that Bašmu would get more attention, as I feel that this project is leaps and bounds better than most of the black metal that the internet is constantly losing its shit over and then forgetting about in the following months. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of metal fans would flat out dislike this album, despite my personal belief that it is an amazing introduction to the sound that Bašmu has perfected over the following albums. “VVitchblood” is not the most original album that the genre has to offer, nor is it completely derivative. It is a good album but Bašmu would go on to create much better.
Bašmu continue to improve and evolve to this day and may have released their best album on May 28, 2020, with “The Encircling”. An album that has perfected the Bašmu vision, this is the album that I would point someone towards if they wanted to start their journey with this amazing musical project.
Rating: 7.5 / 10
- Majestic Serpentine Temples
- Crimson Eyes of Djinn
- Binding of Shadow Spirits
- The Crooked Wand of the Ophidian Craft
- The Demonic Oath
- Crystalline Prison of Souls
- Dimension of Agony
Total Playing Time: 29:59