By Monk

Artwork for Vourukasha by BismarckWhen she sailed into active service in August 1940, the German battleship Bismarck was the heaviest vessel afloat, weighing in at a (then) massive 50,000 tonnes, and carrying enough firepower to destroy not just one but several enemy fleets, upon whom she was designed to wreck untold chaos and devastation. Now, almost three-quarters of a century later, another heavyweight vessel of the same name has set sail, designed and determined to deliver an equally crushing hammer blow to all that stands in its way.

Unlike the ship from which they take their name, however, this incarnation of Bismarck succeed on every level with this, their all-conquering, dominant and domineering third album, which sees the band pushing their musical boundaries even further than before by introducing elements of world music, and particularly Middle Eastern folk instrumentation, into the cauldron of blackened psychedelic doom/stoner fusion which has been their trademark to date.

Not that they have sacrificed any of their heaviness: album opener and lead single ‘Sky Father’ is absolutely crushing, it’s thrash-infused riff and hardcore-inflected vocal hitting with the force of sticking your face in a 15 inch gun barrel just as the commander shouts “fire”. It also possesses the sort of dense drama that makes great doom music all the more powerful.

Third track ‘Kigal’ brings in that aforementioned transcendental Meshuggah-style Middle Eastern vibe, serving as a beautifully-timed midpoint swivel to the album, before it switches back into full-on heavyweight mode with the overwhelming tsunami that is the title track.

The original Bismarck’s active career lasted just eight weeks before being ignominiously scuttled. This incarnation have already sailed the turbulent oceans of the Uberverse for much longer and, on the evidence of this stridently confident offering, seem set to wreck chaos and devastation on any force which stands in its way for quite some considerable time to come.

  • ‘Vourukasha’ is out now.
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