This black metal album is the debut from Apatheia, but since top quality musicians, especially in extreme genres, seem to grow on trees in their native Poland, I had no concerns. The title means “constellation of holes”.

After a suitably menacing beginning, a man with a sore throat rasps venom at us before the hammering drum leads us into the territory of fire and warfare. Harsh, grey, brutal scenes are upon us but the instrumental work, while controlled, is akin to cogs flying from a machine. “Ślepe Oddania” (Blind Devotions) then has the same dirty anarchic quality, while at the same time having a violent appeal. It may be filthy stuff but musically and structurally this is excellent. “Zimna Krew” (Cold Blood) takes us further along the dark path. Although the drums trigger, the disdainful guitar riff pegs it back and deep sounds come from behind to make this truly atmospheric. It’s complex but comprehensible as passages blend. The harsh vocals enhance the grey, rotting decay. The misanthropy continues, but always in the framework of driving and developing soundscapes. The build up of “Boże Cialo” has an air of creepy Norwegian black metal about it, but it spreads its venom in its calm, menacing and at times violent tone. It’s the control and the colourful, hypnotising patterns that are awesome. Accordingly it’s not crushing but plays along at a changing tempo and in a style, which is epic, mesmerising and designed to reduce the listener over time to a miserable pile of dust. The perfect riposte then comes in the form of “Raj” (Paradise). This track reinforces the epic majesty in a sinister soundscape. Such dark soundscapes fly at us from all angles. The steady and driving heaviness develop once more in their atmospheric way on “Supernowa” (Supernova). The harsh vocals bring us back to earth as the dark and meandering trail is set. Three minutes from the end there is a distorted guitar section. It’s a sign of the band’s imagination and the fact that while making us uneasy it is at ease with itself and its ideas. Moreover it typically builds up to an epic climax. It’s a fitting end to an absolutely absorbing album.

Although I don’t understand much of the lyrics because they’re in Polish, I felt complete after listening to this album. “Konstelacja Dziur” maintains intensity throughout its course but without ever resorting to raw violence. Creepy rhythms, imperious guitar work and epic multi-layered structures abound. Apatheia develop atmospheres and draw us in. This is a band to look out for.

(9/10 Andrew Doherty)