The Bishop Of Hexen - The Death Masquerade (2020)


As one of the biggest surprises of 2020, we have Israel’s Symphonic Black Metal outfit The Bishop of Hexen returning with their first full-length release in almost 14 years with “The Death Masquerade”. Featuring a highly bombastic sound, this album delivers nearly 50 minutes of highly engaging music similar to Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth. While some might cringe after reading those names, there is nothing to cringe about how this band captures the vibe of the early days of Symphonic BM (think Argentum, Limbonic Art) and unleashes a very powerful trip down memory lane alongside haunting melodies.

Setting the mood with the creepy orchestrations and voices of “Catacumba Essentia”, the band dives head first into an onslaught of lush atmospherics and dramatic vocal arrangements with “A Witch King Reborn”. We are huge fans of the theatrical/cinematic experience provided by the band, with tracks like “Of Shuttering Harps & Shadow Hounds” and “Death Masks”, delivering over the top atmospherics alongside crafty drumming and ravaging guitar melodies. This brings back that old-school naivety about the genre making the release special.

Some other tracks with darker and more mid-tempo passages like “The Jester’s Demise” nicely change the pace of things and create a very sinister atmosphere that is quite enjoyable. While not being pioneers of the style, the band has embraced it since their beginnings and this release shows the level of refinement they have achieved with it. The core BM elements are a very strong foundation to nicely adorm with all the extra elements the band deploys on songs like “Thousand Shades of Slaughter”.

After closing with the dramatic and very operatic “Sine Nomine”, the band has managed to come back in the scene and claim relevance in just 50 minutes. Delivering eight very well composed and lushly arranged songs, The Bishop Of Hexen sounds the best they ever have in “The Death Masquerade”. Highly recommended release for fans of bands like Dimmu Borgir, Carach Angren, CoF, etc.

Band: The Bishop Of Hexen Album: The Death Masquerade

Label: Dusktone

Release: June 19th, 2020

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Genre: Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal

Country: Israel

Rating: 92/100

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