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Barbarian Prophecies - Origin

Barbarian Prophecies
by Chris Hawkins at 28 April 2018, 9:42 AM

In this day and age, Heavy Metal is a gargantuan behemoth, one nobody in 1985 would possibly have been able to envision as it is now.  With its gigantic growth, it has also been divided into sub genres of sub genres to the point where to call it meticulous over-reaching would be an understatement.  Despite this, one helpful aspect of the way our beloved music has become categorized is that it gives the listener a concise blueprint of what to expect on an album.  At what point, though, does Death Metal give way to Melodic Death Metal?  What about those pesky Black Metal influences?  BARBARIAN PROPHECIES, is one of those hard to classify bands I've alluded to, and despite the fact that they are labelled Death Metal, theirs is a sound that incorporates many more dimensions than those mere two words imply.

Founded in 2000 in Spain, "Origin" is the band's fourth full-length and contains myriad twists and turns within.  Opening with a clean guitar passage similar to EMPEROR's "Al Svartr (The Oath)," the first track, "Multiple," soon transitions to a decidedly MORBID ANGEL-inspired low, Death Metal groove and is rounded out with a fantastic solo and some very engaging syncopation.  The second track, "The Visitor," displays an excellent use of harmonies to beef up the tremolo picking, and soon the song starts thrashing with some extremely fluid alternate-picking to make Jon Schaffer proud.  The fourth track, "Reincarnation," has a Nu Metal-type breakdown in the middle that really had me scratching my head wondering why a band so obviously talented would incorporate any dimension of that type especially when juxtaposed to the intricate speed picking and arpeggios that also occur.  Starting with some beefy distorted bass and pick scrapes, the sixth track, "Architects of the Unknown," has a main melody reminiscent of "Low"-era TESTAMENT and the harmonies during some of the Death/Thrash riffs are pure CARCASS.  "KOMM SÜBER TOD," the ninth track, is a gorgeous classical guitar piece truly showing off the talent of the lead guitarist as well as his Spanish heritage.  It would also be an effective intro track for the live setting.  The eleventh track, "Embrace of Insanity XVII," starts with a riff similar to MESHUGGAH showing off yet another dimension to the band's sound.

"Origin," if nothing else, is one giant slab of fleet-fingered Metal.  The band sounds its best when focused equally on thick down-tuned riffs and speed-picking, truly showing off the huge guitar sound.  The picking style and solos on these guitar parts truly shine.  The vocals are nothing to write home about, pretty typical Death Metal hoarse guttural passages.  The drums throw down alternating between some intriguing blasts, gallops, and double-bass-led parts.  One has to love the thick grindy bass tone which really beefs up the sound.

The only negative thing to say about BARBARIAN PROPHECIES, despite some dabbling here and there with Nu Metal and Metal-core parts, is that the band seems to be wearing too many hats.  Some of the more brutal parts just seem not to coexist well with the more Melodic Death Metal riffs.  It is confusing to the listener when the band can clearly execute riffs on par with Technical Death Metal like GORGUTS and NILE yet then transitions to a KILLSWITCH ENGAGE-sounding part.  While I'm a self-admitted purist, I could find more enjoyment in the music if the band would pick a side of the fence.  It's just not fun having your buzz killed over and over!

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production:  7

3 Star Rating

1. Multiple
2. The Visitor
3. Beyond the Threshold
4. Reincarnation
5. Path of the Soul
6. Architects of the Unknown
7. Slaves
8. Fourth Dimension
10.  Primal
11.  Embrace of Insanity XVII
12.  Remember the Fallen XVII
Arnt Bünz – Lead Guitar
Óscar Besteiro – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Manuel Riguera – Bass
Julio G. Valladares – Drums
Chousa – Vocals
Record Label: WormHoledeath


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Edited 03 February 2023

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