Into The Batushkaverse: When One Schism Is Not Enough
Oh fuck, what did the internet do now?
2015. December. Out of nowhere, Witching Hour Productions releases Litourgiya by a completely unknown band called Batushka and takes the metal world by storm. Eastern Orthodox chants and black metal, what’s not to like? That’s what most publications thought too, so it naturally received critical acclaim. Consequentially, new music definitely was to come, right?
Hold your bowls, porcelain wranglers. Little did we know that behind the curtains, there was trouble brewing…
The Polish Schism
It all began when Krzysztof Drabikowski uploaded a video to YouTube, where he claimed that Batushka’s vocalist Bartłomiej Krysiuk, owner of Witching Hour Productions, was trying to take the band away from him. In the same video, he also announced that a new Batushka album, called Панихида, was finished.
A short time later, Bart signed a deal with Metal Blade and announced another Batushka album called Hospodi. Both albums released during 2019. Check out Joe’s blind taste test here.
So confusing! But if you thought two Batushkas were enough, you made your plans without the internet.
The Russian Schism
Upset by the Polish posers, totally real Orthodox priests from Russia formed a trve Batushka band called Batyushka (you can see they’re trve, because they spelled the name correctly), and released the album Батюшка, which… makes it a self-titled album I suppose.
Anywho, this definitely is the most prolific of the Batushka bands, having released eight full-lengths in 2019. Musically, it’s nothing to write home about, but they kickstarted something even they probably hadn’t expected.
Did you think that only Russia had Orthodox priests? Nuh-uh, think again.
The Greek Schism
Formed by two Greek Orthodox monks who grew disillusioned with the mainstream Christian and black metal scenes, went into hiding after a falling out with the corrupted priest leadership and planned for armed rebellion, ΜΠΑΤΟΥΣΚΑ (which is Greek for Batushka, by the way) released Spiritual Rebel Propaganda. Their message? The condemnation of all previous Batushkas as reactionaries and proclaiming themselves as the sole inheritors of the spirit of True Christian Rebel Black Metal.
Quite honestly, this is my favorite of all the Batushkas. Both musically and thematically. You just can’t beat song titles like “Spiritual Rebel Propaganda IV: Wanking with a Thesaurus in a Bardo Methodology Interview Doesn’t Conceal Your Fascist Bullshit.”
Speaking of fascism, let’s go back to the origin of the Batushkaverse.
The Polish Schism 2: Electric Boogaloo
The Poles just can’t help themselves, they have to keep on schism…ing. This time, they turned their backs to the Eastern Orthodox Church and instead swore fealty to the Roman Catholic Church, collecting money in the intention of late Polish Pope John Paul II.
I’m not going to even say anything about this one. Just let yourself bask in the Holy Hymns of Papushka.
After you’ve paid your tithe, join me on a journey eastwards.
The Ukrainian Schism
Forged and formed in the ancient halls of Bagg Tussa (a monastery) by the Orthodox cult figure Krylow, баґґтусса claims to be the only true Batushka (are you seeing a pattern here?) living under their ideal: “Tussa n’theen, bagg ethu meegh upph,” which apparently means “Goddess Tussa, show me the way” in the “old language,” whatever that is. Through music, they want to attain true spiritual enlightenment.
I don’t know if they reached that goal… I’ll let you decide for yourself, but I didn’t feel very enlightened while listening.
Poland, Russia, Poland again and Ukraine… But what happened on the Balkan peninsula?
The Serbian Schism
ЦАТЮШКА (Catushka) was formed by trve monks in 1421, with Радомир Велибор on the guitars, who played with only one hand, Неманя Никица on the drums, who only played blast beats, having forgotten how to play the drums due to his Alzheimers, and Драгослав Владислав on the bass. It is important to note, that Драгослав was a huge Металлица (Metallica) fan, especially of their album …Анд Юстице Фор Алл (…And Justice for All). Years later, Миливой Велибор, a fellow monk, found the tape in his grandfather’s attic in Moscow, titled as ЦАТЮШКА, dated to 1421, and decided to mix and release it on Bandcamp.
This is by far the funniest story so far, only to be destroyed by ruthless fourth wall bulldozing on the BC page. Musically… I don’t know, man. If you’re actually expecting good music at this point (except ΜΠΑΤΟΥΣΚΑ!), I don’t know what to tell you.
And for the next stop on our little tour, we have to cross half the planet—eastbound.
The Japanese Schism
It had to happen, right? We’re talking about the internet.
Thankfully, there’s only one track. For now.
The “what the fuck” Schism
If BatUWUshka wasn’t what-the-fuck enough for you, there’s a lot more to be found. A lot more.
I suppose this Batushkacore band could also be counted towards the Russian Schism, but they actually claim to be from God’s Rectum (also known as Norway, according to their BC page), so what do I know.
Noise. Damn stinky noise.
The name says it all.
These are Polish priests, who took ecstasy and found themselves in the Netherlands to meet God by consuming even more ecstasy. High as a kite and inspired by the local music, they recorded this track and also apparently thought they were in Poland and not the Netherlands. Don’t do drugs, kids.
I don’t even anymore… Help.
And this wasn’t all, folks! I might do another one of these in the future, but for now… for now, I think, I need a break. And maybe a therapist. Especially after that last one. Fuck sake.
Also, thanks to Guy. from the TovH Discord for being a top-tier idea man and giving me the opportunity to write what is essentially a 1,000 word-long shitpost, though I’m not so sure about how thankful you all are for getting put through this.