Bathsheba is an interesting beast—a sort of super-supergroup, if you're prone to hyperbole like I usually am. In more practical terms, the Belgian four-piece is a new project helmed by musicians from a number of other notable bands, one of whom is itself made of up members from various other well-known bands (see why I just went with super-supergroup?). Bassist Raf and vocalist Michelle are both in Death Penalty, a British/Belgian project comprised of former and current members of Cathedral, Serpentcult, and Lucifer that's been making waves on Rise Above Records.
Whatever you'd like to call them, the most important overall point is that Bathsheba is a very good band, and their Svart Records debut, Servus, may well be one of the finest contribution to the so-called "occult doom" subgenre in recent years. The guitar work is unexpectedly lively and nimble, cradled in distortion, lashings of feedback, and a sludgy tempo; the overall product is heavily atmospheric, in that cosmic YOB-ish, Samothrace-y sort of way, and retains a faint air of menace—a conjuration of fire.
There's a bit of a kitchen sink mentality present here, as scraps of black metal, true doom, stoner doom, sludge, and witchy 70s rock all coalesce into an immensely engaging whole. Michelle's winsome vocals are a clear focal point, her versatility behind the mic adding dynamic layers to the studied heft of Bathsheba's slowly unfurling riffs, especially when she stretches and contorts her vocal chords into an ululating wail and heated growl on closing epic "I At the End of Everything."
Listen for yourself below, and cop the album from Svart Records on February 24.
Kim Kelly is sleepless on Twitter.