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Barbarian Hermit - One (Reissue) Award winner

Barbarian Hermit
One (Reissue)
by Daphne Minks Daly at 23 February 2021, 12:25 PM

Hailing from Manchester, England, the stoner-sludge, fuzz-metal masters, BARBARIAN HERMIT has earned a loyal following in the underground metal scene over the years. Dedicated fans have anxiously anticipated the unveiling of a remastered version of their freshman album, "One." Re-issued by APF Records, "One" was remastered by Chris Fielding at Foel Studios in Welshpool, United Kingdom, and is the epitome of sludge-laden groove metal. The album features Si Scarlett, the original lead vocalist for the band, who initially exited in 2017. The vacancy that would ultimately be filled by Ed Campbell. Upon Campbell's exit, Scarlett subsequently rejoined BARBARIAN HERMIT in 2020, making this perfectly timed fifth-anniversary re-release all the more relevant.

"Mermaid," the album's opener, offers a sick intro reminiscent of sludge metal's early days. With thick grooves, impressive drum action, and filthy vocals, the song is a Southern-stoner-thrash-doom metal work of art and also proved to be this reviewer's favorite track on the album. "Tigerhorse" is a droning, chugging electro rockabilly heavyweight with ambient doom-psych undertones and a nod to classic English metal that never get stale. With deep groove-filled pockets, the song's dirty vocals are a statement in stoner metal virtue.

On "Burn The Fire," the Southern blues-rock and American hardcore influences of BARBARIAN HERMIT are unmistakable. The deep, dark sludgy, fuzzed-out depth complements the down-tuned, low-end chugging bass lines that are genuinely seductive, if not altogether intoxicating."BEA," or "Barbarian Enforcement Agency," displays a more menacing stride than the previous tracks giving intensely invigorating, forceful drum explosions and powerful galloping guitar work. Well-placed pullbacks work well within this thrashy speed metal chug-a-thon.

Track five, "Alma," offers the listener another thrash-infused run down a superspeedway, only this time with a hardcore punk cadence. The musicianship remains tight from start to finish and never gets messy. When live music returns, this song is sure to be a pit-starter. "Widowmaker" is an intensely heavy tune that initially served as the album's closer on the original release. With a post-hardcore punk groove and classic sludgecore moodiness, the intentionally crunchy vocal stylings become reminiscent of early San Francisco thrash without sounding dated.

A previously unreleased track, "Through The Periscope Of The Deadly Sub,” is a nine-and-a-half-minute, sludge-doom powerhouse. An exceptionally dark, foreboding tune that's littered with doom-ridden, sludgy riffs and intricate drum fills bring the intensity level to a fever pitch.  As a self-described sludge-metal junkie, this reviewer went into the album with high hopes, and this remastered version of an already well-respected record didn't disappoint. Worthy of repeating, this is one album that every sludge aficionado needs in their collection.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Mermaid
2. Tigerhorse
3. Burn The Fire
4. BEA
5. Alma
6. Widowmaker
7. Through The Periscope Of The Deadly Sub
Simon Prato Scarlett – Vocals
Mike Regan - Guitar
Adam Robertshaw – Guitar
Chris Wood – Bass
Loz Brindley - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 10 December 2022

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