BlackoshFormed in 2010 by Root founder Petr “Blackie” Hošek, Blackosh was conceived as a vehicle by which he could recapture the vibe of his former band’s vibrant early ’90s works. Having evolved gradually around a core of maniacs the band has thus far contributed to two splits, both with that other legendary name in Czech black metal, Master’s Hammer. (Interestingly Blackosh’s logo appears almost derived from MH’s on both these splits, perhaps giving a further insight into where they’re coming from.) For the debut album, Hošek handles guitar and vocal duties – as he did with previous bands Entrails and Cales – while Zdeněk Čepička takes ‘care’ of the drumming.

From the outset the album’s oddness is established via a vague combination of noises before an avalanche of technical blast-beats hammer out beyond a sea of imperious riffs. Vocally – an aspect which will be mentioned throughout – there is more than an echo of Master’s Hammer to the delivery, a hallmark it would seem of the Czech language delivered in a black metal styling. As we go on, there are some surprising musical parallels with Behemoth’s tech-death/black metal proficiency and it is, it goes without saying, far more intense than Root. With the second track ‘Ve spiknutí se Satanem’ these similarities continue in the furious drumming and riffs yet Blackosh’s attack proves far more spontaneous and fetid. Throw those vocals into the mix, which alternate between semi-chanting, screams and a typically yelped bark, and its a bonkers combination which certainly lives up to the album’s title. Elsewhere there’s even nods to the likes of Mystifier.

Where elements of obscurity appear through the first half of the disc, things truly take a turn for the insane with ‘Bič z lejna’. Opening with a tolling bell, unhinged laughter, chanting and an organ, opposing images of piousness and absurdity merge inexplicably. It comes as somewhat of a relief then as a riff barges in to get this menacing composition underway. No matter if the band is going fast as hell or taking the pace down a notch as here, the music remains unrelentingly oppressive. And it’s difficult to attempt a description of the weird layered taunts that emerge later in the track (while I can’t understand the lyrics, maybe I don’t even want to…) Beyond this oddity, the rock ‘n’ roll/punk tones of ‘Kancelář s číslem 666’ come as a welcome diversion. Best of all however, is the closing part of our journey, ‘Funeralusmus’. In by now customary fashion, demented voices deliver some alien words before an arse kicking riff sets the tone for this doom-ridden final blow.

Although twenty-nine minutes and six tracks may on the face of it seem a bit short, I’d argue that it adds up very well for such an abstract statement of extremity. In its capacity as an obscure venture ‘Whores, Booze & Black Metal’ certainly does not disappoint, even if it is at times utterly strange. Provided you can get your head around its eccentricities – typified by ‘Bič z lejna’ – there’s a great deal to appreciate: from the way it balances illogic, purpose, disjointedness and sheer aggression, to Hošek’s vocals, which seem to have a life of their own compared to the music. It’s a great debut, and one which certainly draws inspiration from the same dark recesses of insanity as Root did.

(8/10 Jamie)