Saturday, 17 May 2014

Barshasketh - Defying the Bonds of Cosmic Thraldom

Wolfsvuur Records 2010
1.Entzauberung 2.Imprisoned in Flesh 3.The Whisper of Abyssal Winds
4.Pantheon of Traitors 5.Penetrating the Unplumbed Darkness 6.Illuminated by Shadow
7.Upon the Ashes of the Betrayer
Originally hailing from New Zealand, black metal band Barshasketh have re-located to the Scottish capital Edinburgh. Featuring members of Falloch, Cnoc An Tursa and Haar, the bands black metal credentials are beyond reproach but how did their debut album "Defying the Bonds of Cosmic Thraldom" turn out? On first hearing this album I wasn't overly moved but having given it three or four repeat spins and I have to confess there is a lot on offer. Opening track "Entzauberung" is a mid paced, almost cautious opening gambit that showcases thoughtful riff based melodies, subtle tremolo rhythms and guttural rasping vocals all being pushed forward by minimalist drumming combined with frantic blast beats. As if getting over stage fright, "Imprisoned in Flesh" feels like a more confident affair and sports some endearing cold melodies as well as more subtle guitar tones further into its repertoire. Slower, more intense blasts of icy northern black metal are produced suggesting that this once southern hemisphere band has truly embraced its new northern pastures.
Tracks such as "The Whisper of Abyssal Winds" and "Pantheon of Traitors" have a very traditional black metal feel, the latter of which feels like a bleak shaft of light through the dense gloom of night before exploding into a bout of hostile, fast paced black metal belligerence, often tempered with almost graceful acoustic wanderings. "Penetrating the Unplumbed Darkness" is a ravaging spree of aggression and hostility leading to moments of brooding calm and more sinister onslaughts to follow whilst penultimate track "Illuminated by Shadow" is yet another twisting and turning medley of rampant speed and intricate, soft guitar tones. Finishing with "Upon the Ashes of the Betrayer", Barshasketh bring to a close an extremely complex and diverse album, one worth experiencing but more than once for it all to sink in!
7 Out Of 10 (Luke Hayhurst)
Band Page: Here

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