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Barkasth - Decaying

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 13 July 2018, 11:32 AM

BARKASTH is a Black Metal band from Kharkiv, Ukraine, formed in 2015. I was not able to obtain any bio information on the band, but “Decaying” is the band’s debut album, presented here today for review. It contains seven tracks, and a total running length of just over 42 minutes. In case you’ve been asleep for the past decade or so, the Black Metal genre has broken through previous boundaries and has diversified greatly, and today is offering us some of the best Metal out there. Let’s see what BARKASTH is all about.

“Begging by Freaks” leads off the album. It has a recognizable Black Metal sound but subdues some of the traditional “wall of sound” to favor more mood and rhythm. The vocals are great—full of rage and with a rough edge to them. The structure of the main melody line is simple but very effective. A clean guitar melancholic interlude ensures just after the half way mark with some despondent spoken words, and the song builds to a nice crescendo towards completion. “Alone” opens with a mid-tempo riff and open notes. The air is charged with darkness and fear. As the riff picks up pace it’s almost like listening to BLACK SABBATH if they dabble in Black Metal back in the day. That punishing, doomy riff just consumes you.

“Blood & Flesh” opens with a raucous and fast moving pace. The initial rhythm is mesmerizing. They then nail an alluring transition after the half way mark where you can stop, breathe, and look around at the beauty that what has to offer. “Soul Away” has a depressive slow grind with plenty of lamentations in the vocals. Just after the halfway mark the sonority picks up and we have a fuller sound with more aggression. It settles back into the more depressive sound to completion. The title track, “Decaying,” comes out of the gate with speed and fury. The fast-picked guitars work in unison with the drums, but the bass guitar gets lost a bit in the mix. The sound drops down just a layer after the three minute mark, cutting some of the intensity with a more discernable rhythm.

“Shepherd” is also a quick moving song and has a harrowing sound, like marking the coming of a dark presence. The sound transitions a bit after the half way mark, and really goes deeper into the horrors of the fire that lie beneath us. “…Where was the Son of God” closes the album. A dissonant guitar riff fades in slowly and is soon joined by bass and drums. The vocals are raging hard here as the somber question in the title of the song is marked by the hopeless sound in the instrumentation. The hypnotic riff builds in layers as the final act of evil is released on the world. Overall, this was a unique and enjoyable twist within the vast boundaries of modern Black Metal. It brought plenty of frightening moments along the ride, along with memorable riffs and a sense of the macabre. There’s a lot to like here from this debut for fans of the genre.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Begging by Freaks
2. Alone
3. Blood & Flesh
4. Soul Away
5. Decaying
6. Shepherd
7. …Where was the Son of God
Arkhonth – Guitars, Vocals
Goreon – Guitars, Vocals
Hagalth – Bass
Malet – Drums
Record Label: Svarga Music


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