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'Testimonio de Bautismo'
(Godz Ov War Productions)

jools green

Jools Green


Polish death/black metal outfit Stillborn are back with their fifth full length, 'Testimonio de Bautismo', and have kept with their quirky tradition of having all their album titles in Spanish, for a reason which to date still escapes me, but what I do know is the music is superb and that's the important factor.

So it's business pretty much as usual with this latest, nine track offering that spans a brutal thirty four minutes and I couldn’t be more pleased.

The only couple of differences are that they have trimmed the line up down to a compact trio of just Hunger on bass, Killer on guitars and vocals and August on drums and they have gone with all Polish lyrics and titles, except for the penultimate track, a Sodom cover, 'Burst Command til War', a superb version with its denser, richer sound, it more than does the original justice and final track, the instrumental 'Apocalyptic Hymn of Satanic Warriors' which builds to an intense crushing finale.

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Two of the tracks stood out, not just for their musicianship as that's a consistent factor across the whole release, as are the well delivered vocals, but for their source of lyrical inspiration; 'Upiór' where the drum work really lifts up the guitars and which has a superbly slow and haunting drop-away from midway and the intense and punchy 'Modlitwa poganina', which are based on two poems, 'The Ghost' and 'A Pagans Prayer' by the nineteenth century French decadent poet Charles Baudelaire, translated into Polish by Maria Leśniewska and were Baudelaire alive today, I reckon he would be as impressed by these interpretations as I am.

Grabbing my attention from the opening note, 'Ancykryst' has superb opening riffs, tight, haunting, sinister and classically Polish in their construct and delivery, as utilised by the likes of Behemoth in particular but you never tire of hearing them and once the pace picks up to a crushing "in your face" gallop, they repeat as an integral part of the track.


'Martwo urodzony - rozdział trzeci' is a fast paced onslaught, with an impressively rapid delivery to the riffing from the offset that's almost thrashy at times, the vocals delivered with malevolent intent and when the tempo drop briefly it does so with oppressive force, a brilliantly brutal offering and the pace ramps up further with the arrival of 'Człowiekowstręt' which is intense yet impressively precise in its delivery, again with a crushing drop-away which is more extensive here. There no letting up at all.

'Odezwa' may only be just over two minutes long but it's a dense onslaught of pummelling drums and crushing riffs garnished with a superb ranging, tortuous, harsh vocal delivery. It's Stillborn in a very compact nutshell and if that isn't fast enough for you then 'Obłęd' is delivered at an even more astounding pace with some great military drum rhythms midway.

'Testimonio de Bautismo' is another consistent and brutal, yet very listenable offering from this much underrated band and anyone who enjoyed the previous offerings, particularly its predecessor 'Los Asesinos del Sur' will find this a rewarding listen. If you haven't heard them yet do so - they are so worth a listen.

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