Medico Peste - á :The Black Bile [Seasons of Mist/ Underground Activists - 2020]
Polish Black Metal band Medico Peste were formed in early 2010 by vocalist Lazarus and guitarist Nefar, they went on to release their first demo in 2011 and their debut album a year later. Things have slowed down since those early days and in the intervening years between their debut and this, their sophomore album there has only been an EP, Herzogian Darkness, so it’s quite exciting to have a new album to see what the band are up to with this new incarnation. Original drummer Priest has since been replaced by Desolator, but the other members The Fall (bass) and EVT (guitar) remain in situ.
Album opener "God Knows Why" gets things underway and despite the blast beats and guttural vocals it still feels a little off-kilter. Sonically there is more going on here than straight forward Black Metal, with some unusual keyboard lines and some interesting diversity to the pacing of the track which seems to go all over the place at times, despite this the track works well. "All Too Human" is up next and what starts out as a melodic mid-tempo Black Metal track adopts a proggy mid-section before fading into ambient soundscape territory, before finally settling back into Black Metal terrain for the song’s final thrust. "Numinous Catastrophe" follows with more of a black n roll sound, reminding me of later period Mayhem or Volcano era Satyricon, with some proggy touches. "Were Saviours Believers" takes us through the album’s mid-point, all the while hinting at the sound of countrymates Behemoth stepping into blackened doom territory at various points.
"Skin" is probably one of the faster and more traditional sounding Black Metal tracks on the album, whilst "Holy Opium" enters the fray as a slow slab of melodic blackened doom which builds in intensity for the last couple of minutes. Album closer and title track "The Black Bile" remains one of my favorite tracks and highlights where the band do seem to get it right, the almost doom-like riffs and proggy touches work so well as the song builds in intensity towards its finale.
The Black Bile is an interesting record that draws influence from across the musical spectrum, yet remaining inherently Black Metal. Elements of progressive rock and shoegaze can be heard throughout the album, but at times feel a little like underplayed at times, almost as if they are bolted on to the Black Metal sound rather working in perfect symbiosis. Perhaps I am being a little unfair but I can’t shake that feeling. Despite this minor criticism I still enjoyed the album a good deal and I do feel that there is more to come from a band just returning to the fray after a longish period of inactivity.Darren Charles