Year of release: 2019
Released by: Saturn Sector Rex
Rating: 7,7 / 10
Debut album of DOWNCROSS gave me a pleasant surprise. Especially pleasant because I listened to the pre-mastered version long time ago, and I didn’t like the album then. So I didn’t expected anything particularly interesting. The debut album of another project of the same duo (the name of which I will not mention, so that I won't accidentally disclose the well-known secret) left a rather neutral impression on me, however, after a couple of listenings, “Mysteries of Left Path” suddenly shown its treasures that were on the surface all the time.
“Mysteries of Left Path” is very warmly received abroad, although in the homeland it was treated, by and large, indifferently. It is easy to understand. The album was originally aimed to the external market, the publisher is working (and very well, judging by the response of the audience!) in the same direction. And there's nothing Belarusian / Krywian in the music here. You'll never guess this band is from Minsk. I can't say that we don't like this type of stuff here - it's just the main part of those who really support Black Metal in Belarus, these people prefer more brutal and dark example of the genre. But the mass audience loves this type of melodic music very much... but only if it is produced by world-famous stars, or if the listener once got drunk with one of the band members in some shithole like "Central" market in Belarusian capital. Alas, but the example of DOWNCROSS again proves that the standard metalhead is no different from the pop music amateur, except for his exorbitant arrogance - the same chase for big names, not for the content behind them.
And with DOWNCROSS, I must say, everything is very good in terms of content - both musical and lyrical. As I have already said, in my case it took several attempts, but now I understand that I don’t regret the time spent at all, and I will even sometimes listen to this CD again. “Mysteries of Left Path” is a rare piece of an all-metal album which is built on pure riffs and tears off the bat, without wasting time for fucking pointless intros and samples. One of the best guitarists in the country is responsible for the music, so you can be sure about its quality. Perhaps it is the non-trivial methods of play that are to blame for the fact that the album is initially perceived hardly. Still, listening to Black Metal, you subconsciously expect to meet the traditional structures, but DOWNCROSS has completely different influences. This is not at all avant-garde, it's just that everything is different here, from sound to vocals. I don’t want to make annoying comparisons with MGŁA; the similarity is vanishingly small, only methods of achieving the goal are close. In fact, the music of DOWNCROSS is more interesting than that of the Poles. Due to the general solemn atmosphere, the album preserves integrity, however each composition offers something exclusive. Moving, elastic riffs and tenacious melodies do not give relief to the very end, although the most juicy pieces are concentrated in the first third of the album. Only the “Baning the Energies of Creation” thing is really different from others: its main riff does not fit into any underground metal frame known to me. Something remotely similar can be found in INQUISITION, but in a completely different rhythm. Although it reminds me more of motives from old movies about gladiator fights. However, this song does not destroy the overall picture, it is just very unusual. I note the cool sound of the album - the perfect choice for metal of this kind; both distinct and natural.
The lyrics to the album are directly related to its title, it is literate in every sense and, perhaps, darker than the music. Occultism, the experience of dealing with demons, going beyond earthly existence, invocation of destructive forces - everything as it should be. Black Metal. As a result of reading some of the texts, I even felt a vague desire to interview the group, but so far I will not promise anything.
The physical edition of the album is a standard Jewel case with 8-page booklet containing lyrics and a photograph of the band. For some reason, they decided to apply an extravagant color solution to the booklet, using some kind of brownish-yellow sepia on everything. In my eyes, the original cover, which can be seen on Bandcamp, looks much better, but it's up to them to decide. Details on a video. Buy the CD from Saturn Sector Rex at any time of day and night. LP and MC releases coming soon.