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Baron Carta – Step Into the Plague Award winner

Baron Carta
Step Into the Plague
by Leanne Evans at 16 April 2021, 3:49 PM

Pure and simple, 2020 was a write-off of a year. Most of us spent months in and out of lockdown, with some of us choosing to spend our time making personal vows to becoming improved versions of ourselves. In reality, the majority of us ended up procrastinating, eating the diet of a feeder’s dream and creating a spare tyre (or two). It’s not all been bad, though, because us metal heads also fattened up our ears with GREAT music over that time and tipped the scales pushing up the ante with musical exploration.

Bands have jumped on the pandemic creativity bandwagon, wondering how they can adapt and satisfy the insatiable appetites of us greedy music guzzlers. Let me introduce you to BARON CARTA, an exciting project created by Jono Bacon (SEVERED FIFTH) and an outfit that realised we’re an insatiable bunch, especially since 12 months of no gigs, no pit, no nothing, has left us foaming at the mouth and craving something VERY tasty. Jono has gone full-blown foie gras on us and has very clearly created BARON CARTA to stuff us full of mouth-watering musical delights. With the delicious vocals of Ralf Scheepers (PRIMAL FEAR, GAMMA RAY), the delectable drumming of Morten Gade Sørensen (PYRAMAZE, ANUBIS GATE) and Jono’s own incredible guitar work and song writing talent to more than whet our appetites. The guys have released their debut EP, “Step Into the Plague”, cramming it full of succulent sound, with every bit of meatiness we could possibly hope for and gluttonous fistfuls of flavoursome twists and turns. BARON CARTA is the sort of band who will have you chomping at the bit, savouring each bite, but still craving A LOT more. Let’s kick off BARON CARTA’s musical banquet…

To start, “Out of Time” serves up salacious sound, unapologetically heavy metal with gloriously overt bass work. It’s got a chunkiness about it that screams NEVERMORE with healthy overtones of PRIMAL FEAR to boot, yet equally maintains a progressive feel, too. Ralf delivers an enticing lilt to his vocals in the intro, which quickly morph into much raspier tones and a catchy vocal hook; coupled with Jono’s melodic riffing and his flawlessly expressive guitar outro, this track is one to turn up LOUD.

BARON CARTA showcase a fantastic ability to toy with tempo, pulling it up and pushing it back down and injecting great grooves, as shown in “Devil to Send”. Everything is ramped up and amped up in sonics and structure, bringing a distinctly thrash vibe that falls somewhere between MEGADEATH and SLAYER. With the incessant riffing, Morten’s exemplary execution of his driving rhythm, chock full of double-bass drumming, and the noticeably grittier vocals – which at times are gloriously unnerving when they transpire as an intimidating spoken tone - this track is a bombastic masterpiece, the perfect calling for the Devil himself…or will at least summon a demon or two. The full-frontal aggression doesn’t stop at “Devil to Send”; for the delicious main course, penultimate track “Truth to Power” brings its own level of brutality, especially the overt bass line (God, I love how the bass has really come into its own throughout BARON CARTA’s tracks), it’s a fine piece of meatiness, especially with the surly tone of Ralf’s vocals! And did I mention the God-damn solo?! Wow! Jono is on FIRE! For me, this track is foot-tapping, head-nodding quality at its finest, a perfect piece to get your groove on to.

By this point, you’d think we’d be stuffed to the brim, but as with any truly exquisite feast, there’s always room for dessert… “Act 1: Duty” brings a delicate symphonic intro with sounds of nature layered across orchestral progression and celestial sounding vocals, a gentle nod to the beginning of an epic power tune. After almost 2 beautiful minutes of sonic sanctuary, Ralf’s vocals gently lilt and are softened and honeyed, poured gracefully into your ears. Suddenly, the compositions morphs into a heavy progressive metal track, packed with chunky guitar riffs and a noticeably faster drumbeat, almost with a call to arms feel. The chord progression is beautiful, the play with tempo, stunning vocal stylistic, everything about this composition is beauteous and a befitting finale to what has been over 22 minutes of pure joy to savour within “Step Into the Plague”.

Unafraid and undeterred by supposed genre limits, the talented BARON CARTA fearlessly ventures into a sonic territory where no genre parameters exist throughout “Step Into the Plague”. The band’s personal interpretation of the last year makes for a variety of nuances, with plenty of twists and turns and interesting concepts, only adding to their diverse dimensions, giving the listener an enticing and exciting aural journey. This phenomenal debut was mixed and mastered by grammy-nominated producer Jacob Hansen (VOLBEAT, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, DESTRUCTION and PRIMAL FEAR) and makes for a super-clean production.

BARON CARTA will release a series of shorter EPs on a more regular timeframe, usually a couple of times a year. This novel approach will provide an opportunity for fans to get fresh music much more often and will keep them on their toes, hankering for more soul food. The band’s next EP release will be later this year and it’ll be interesting to see if BARON CARTA streamlines to one particular genre, or if the next chapter will be a continuation of multiple sonic musings. I personally think it’ll be the latter…

“Step Into the Plague” is ambrosial brilliance, sustenance for the soul if you will, and I implore you to savour every last morsel.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Out of Time
2. Devil to Send
3. Truth to Power
4. Act 1: Duty
Lineup:
Jono Bacon – Guitars
Ralf Scheepers - Vocals
Morten Gade Sørensen - Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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