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Barbarian - Viperface Award winner

by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 28 September 2022, 12:59 PM

The Old School Metal acts that are into the scene today have to deal with a problem: to sound in such way doesn’t mean that you’re free to dig the grave of the ancients and to do again and again what they did. One band must have a different expression, because no one needs a new “To Mega Therion”, “Obsessed by Cruelty”, “Restless and Wild”, “Ace of Spades” or any other classic that could be named. It’s like saying ‘show who you are, or show nothing’, because what’s in the past gains life as you spin the album again, so a clone isn’t needed. And even playing things in an Old School way, the Italian trio BARBARIAN really has a good work, as shown on “Viperface”.

The songs shows a mix between Speed Metal, Thrash Metal and Black Metal influences (to be clear, in the form these genres were presented during the years between 1982 and 1985), when melodies were better heard, and without being extremely brutal. It’s like an update done on what MOTÖRHEAD, JUDAS PRIEST, SLAYER (on “Show No Mercy” days), KREATOR, CROSSFIRE and others left in the past, and it sounds really good, with energy, many melodic hooks and aggressive. Although the band says that their work is regressive, in reality it shows a band with personality that is showing a different approach in Old School Metal, because they’re not copying anyone. The sonority is a point that really needs to be mentioned. It can sound a bit drier than the needed, but it’s not something trying to emulate what’s in the past. It’s heavy, aggressive and clean, so there’s no problem on understanding what they’re expressing at all.

“Viperface” is really a very good album, with many good ideas being expressed, and with all the songs in the same level. But the better ones for a first experience on these Italian maniacs music, pay attention to “Viperface” (excellent melodies with catchy guitar riffs in a song without technical compromises), “Chant of the Inflicter” (the Hard Rock touches inherited from the filthy age of MOTÖRHEAD are clear, with hooking rhythms that are hard to resist), “Charity Defiler” (a fast song in the Old School format, and what very good singing of the vocals, a midterm between grunts and howls), “A Feast for the Beast” (no one can resist to such melodies and slow paced tempos), and “Regressive Metal” (some influences of CELTIC FROST are clear, contrasting with JUDAS PRIEST-like melodies, and what good backing vocals) are the right ones to fall in love with this album.

As final words, once again one must understand that BARBARIAN is far from being a copy or work in a regressive form, and “Viperface” can be a good vision for Old School Metal acts.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Viperface
2. Chant of the Inflicter
3. Whisper My Name
4. Charity Defiler
5. A Feast for the Beast
6. Fourteen Daggers
7. Regressive Metal
Borys Crossburn - Guitars, Vocals
Blackstuff - Bass
Sledgehammer - Drums
Record Label: Hells Headbangers


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