Rattenfänger: Epistolae Oscurorum Virorum

Ukrainian BM veterans experience the triumph of death

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Once again, the brains behind such incredible Ukrainian bands as Drudkh and Blood Of Kingu return with another killer band. Rattenfänger (from the original German name for the Pied Piper of Hamelin) offer crushing death metal, unashamedly old-school in approach.

Eschewing speed for speed’s sake, Epistolae Oscurorum Virorum (and yes, all the songs are in Latin, lyrics not included) draws on the sort of lead-heavy riffing that Asphyx and Winter specialise in. If you’re familiar with the Hate Forest masterpiece Battlefields – the same people, Roman Saenko and his horde, are involved – then think With Fire And Iron recorded with a proper production budget.

Epistolae… is heavier than an armour-plated elephant, and about as unstoppable. Not just heavy, but dark and brooding too. While much heavier and sonically denser than some of their other outfits, they all share a sense of what has been called Slavonic melancholy: overbearing sadness and windswept loneliness seem to ooze from the every riff, although this time, coupled with some serious breezeblock heaviness. Essential listening.