It has been a big year for Finnish black metal - new titles from stalwarts Behexen, Satanic Warmaster, and Archgoat and stylistic reaffirmations from newcomers Celestial Grave have proven this regional juggernaut of a scene shows no loss in momentum. The late 2010s appear to be a Finnish black metal renaissance, as it were, though the flame which burns within each of these artists has never flickered.

As I covered in my premiere of fellow countrymen Behexen's Umbra Luciferi, Finland's black metal scene is caught between two extremes: epic, melodic contemplation and acid-spitting, sharp abandon. Though previous works by the long-standing Baptism remained centrist in the battle between melodic and caustic atmosphere (Grim Arts of Melancholy features some of the finest examples of such melding), recent years show frontman Lord Sargofagian erring toward the former. Their newest effort retains the speed and strength of previous albums, but Baptism's devotion to the Dark One takes on a much more complex and contemplative face on V: The Devil's Fire. That isn't to say Baptism is "going soft," rather, V is these genre adherents aging like a fine wine. Devotion is a difficult and multi-faceted action, and while black metal's depiction of Satanic devotion is generally depicted by the perverse and horrific, there is a certain, mystical majesty in giving your entire being into a more powerful being. The melodic, densely composed odes of Baptism's V: The Devil's Fire paint a portrait of glory, divine majesty, and total, ritualistic submission.

Baptism stokes the Devil's Fire on July 22, with CD, vinyl, and cassette formats being handled by Season of Mist. Scroll down for an exclusive first listen of V: The Devil's Fire with track-by-track commentary by the band.


From vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Lord Sargofagian :

V: The Devil's Fire

Natus Ex Ignis:
Born from Fire. We are. Introduction,
First step into The Ritual.

The Raw and Epic in musical form, a song about occult epiphany, 'Satananda' captures the very moment, when spiritual suffering and enlightenment, love and hate become as one. A cry for truth and a prayer to Satan, whose name in the Sanskrit language means "bliss in the absolute cosmos". 'Satananda' features guest vocals by our excellent partner in crime, Mynni Luukkainen. The lyrics have once again been penned by the amazing Johannes Nefastos.

Devil's Fire:
The track ‘Devil’s Fire’ is a massive way point along the journey from the origin of it all, a strength that burns inside of me. Once you have lit the torch, you can never put it out. It does not matter where you go or what choice you have made in your life, the fire will follow you to the end. This title track comes with strong melodies that I am very proud of which spread throughout the album.

The Sacrament Of Blood and Ash:
Simply put, in order to rise above we must overcome our lesser and mundane self. If we succeed in this act, time and time again, the blood of this offering will water the roots of the tree which is known as our spiritual development. The lyrics for this song were written based on my ideas by Gorath Moonthorn. Three more long-time friends are featured on this album as well and we are joined for this first preview by our brother Mikko Kotamäki from Swallow The Sun, whose voice fits the chorus perfectly.

A song from the emptiness of my heart, I'm still seeing the whole picture of my ideology and see how this ruined and desolated world can annoy me. Still Worship Satan, master who's lurking from the shadows...Slower song to making album and concept interesting. Great emotional voice featuring by Spellgoth (Horna, Prevalent Resistance), as well.

Cold Eternity:
Hateful in musical form, added with some great synth and guitar melodies, hearing some influence from our past work Grim Arts of Melancholy. Lyrical themes keep it simple and follow ruined world ideas, to the great shining.

Malignant Shadows:
About astral intoxication, the hell not completely within one's own mind, the protoplasm of psychosis...

Buried With Him:
The track ‘Buried With Him’ reveals a part of the spirituality of Baptism, our journey through the trials and conquests of this thing called ‘Life’, which is as much relating to ‘Death’ at the same time. Like much of the philosophy behind Baptism, it represents the Gnostic side of Satanism, the one holding the values of our true self. We all are buried along with the Master, the Light-Bringer, who dwells deep within man. This song features my old brother Antti Boman from the legendary Demilich and the lyrics have penned by our longtime spiritual-member Johannes Nefastos.


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