BLACK MESSIAH - The Final Journey

Black Messiah - The Final Journey

10 songs
54:05 minutes
***** ****


Black Messiah from Gelsenkirchen have been around already for two decades, and still their mix of black, folk and pagan metal manages to win me over. Maybe one reason is the fact that they are not too busy in the studio, considering that The Final Journey is so far only the sixth album of the sextet. I have been amazed from the first to the last second, despite (or maybe because?) the band is doing exactly what they have done in the past.

As is customary with Black Messiah, the pagan metal band is not restricting itself to Nordic sagas, but has also an open ear for Balkan folk. Especially ancient Russian folklore finds its way into the band’s lyrics. To ensure authenticity, they are using traditional instruments like balalaika and violin. But there are also other surprises awaiting. The opener Windloni – for which they made a video clip – even contain some baroque music. The following, nine minute long Der Ring mit dem Kreuz is a first highlight of Balkan folk which sometimes is close to kitsch and Schlager music, but ultimately still good clean fun and thanks to the balalaika perfect party fodder. The remaining tracks don’t stand back though. Feld der Ehre is very martial sounding and thus reminding me of Manowar, and has very pleasant antichristian lyrics. It may also be the quietest track on the album. The last four pieces constitute the twenty minute long concept epic The Naglfar Saga, telling full of variety the story of a death ship from a Nordic saga. The first part comes with acoustic parts, telling a short story, before the second part goes full steam ahead before a female guest vocalist takes over. The third and longest part is balancing smartly between melancholy and ferocity before the album ends with the last part on a quieter note.

There is no doubt that Black Messiah once again have mastered their task and are still one of the most original metal bands around. The Final Journey may see the band continue on their chosen path, but they still manage to come up with surprising and fascinating material. I hope that this has not been Black Messiah’s final journey, as I would really like to hear more of them in the future.

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