Album Review: MEDICO PESTE - ב :The Black Bile

Artist: Medico Peste

Album: ב :The Black Bile

Genre: Black Metal / Post-Black Metal / Avant-Garde Metal

Review by Karl O’Shea

Medico Peste hail from the fertile Polish black metal scene and have returned 3 years after their acclaimed EP Herzogian Darkness with their second full-length studio album. They have dubbed their sound “schizophrenic black metal” and tackle themes such as mental illness, religion and nihilism. Results may vary if the sounds on this album can be suitably called “schizophrenic” or is evocative of a descent into madness. I can say for certain that it is a very decent slab of blackened metal with a few interesting ideas up it’s sleeves.

The band comes roaring out of the gate with the excellent opener “God Knows Why”, commencing with the anguished shrieks of Lazarus (vocals/guitars) before pummeling the listener with discordant chords and frenzied drums. This track serves as a showcase of the dynamic twists and turns ב :The Black Bile utilises across it’s fifty minutes whilst never sounding over-stuffed or overwritten. It’s a strong beginning that immediately holds your attention and is equaled by the following track “All Too Human” in both song-writing strength and dynamics.

The album contains the standard black metal tropes like blast beats and speed-riffing but there is plenty of variation in riff styles and influences from post-punk, cabaret, ambient music and even occasional touches of dark jazz. This is all tied together by a consistent, somewhat demented and rage-fueled atmosphere, with each track returning to a central motif throughout it’s respective run-time. Certain sections of tracks veer dangerously close to sounding cartoonishly evil but Medico Peste never quite jump the shark, which is more than can be said for A LOT of extreme metal bands.

While dynamics are used quite thoughtfully and the album isn’t one long blast-beat, the band has only a handful of tricks which becomes apparent by fifth track “Skin”. These are very good tricks but a samey vibe does start to settle in during the final three track run. The album is front-loaded with it’s two best tracks and while the rest of the material on ב :The Black Bile is still quite enjoyable, they never quite reach the same heights.

Medico Peste’s sophomore effort takes several interesting detours whilst still remaining firmly in black metal territory. It won’t blow any minds but good music doesn’t always have to shatter boundaries and push its respective genre forward. This is an album that, for the most part, has been crafted with care and remains engaging throughout most of its run-time. If you loved Behemoth’s last two albums or you enjoy Cobalt, you’re bound to find something to dig here.

The Black Bile is out now via Season Of Mist.

Stream the album below:

The cover artwork of  'ב :The Black Bile' was created by Inside Flesh and can be found below, together with the tracklist.

Track List:

1. God Knows Why(08:25)

2. All Too Human(08:33)

3. Numinous Catastrophy (07:10)

4. Were Saviours Believers? (06:48)

5. Skin (06:37)

6. Holy Opium (05:48)

7. The Black Bile (06:45)

Total playing time: 0:50:06

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