Author: Felix 1666
(Saturnal Records, 2017)
#FOR FANS OF: Black, Behexen, Azaghal
Barathrum are back from the dead. Well, I do not know whether this is really good news, because some of their older albums were as interesting as a glass of sour milk. But let's focus on the comeback work whose opener discovers a noisy and roughshod production. Barathrum are not afraid of celebrating an apocalyptic feast. This does not mean that they wallow in an orgy of high velocity, but their sometimes occurring affinity for doom metal also does not prevail. In other words, Barathrum do not explore the extremes in terms of speed. But believe me, dear guest in the pit of the damned, they are extreme, at least the guy at the microphone. His animalistic and extrovert performance expresses torture, insanity and misanthropy at the same time. The strange kind of human octopus (admittedly, two arms are missing) that ornaments the cover illustrates the murderous approach of the lead vocalist pretty good. His performance is rounded off by an overdose of reverb. Patients with a weak heart are not allowed to listen to this devil who is supported by likewise mind-boggling background vocals.
Sometimes Barathrum appear as the melting pot of extreme Finnish metal. The insanity of Impaled Nazarene meets Behexen's nightmarish violence and both fall in love with the inhuman negativity of Azaghal. In addition, some boozy moments remind me of black thrash hordes like Urn. This does not mean that Barathrum are the kings of ultra-harsh metal from the land of the thousand lakes. One cannot say that each and every track hits the nail on the head. Tunes such as "Sadistic Pleasure" leave room for optimization. But the album grows with every new round and the overall impression is sometimes atmospheric (listen to the bell in "Spirit of the Damned" or enjoy the expressive guitar work at the beginning of the partially viscous "On the Dark River Bank"), mostly intense and always impressive. I don't think that this album will leave you cold, because it belongs to the love-it-or-hate-it outputs. And to manage the art of polarization is anything else but bad in terms of publicity.
Of course, the lyrical content defies description. Barathrum proclaim the "massacre of believers" and sing about "their own excrements mixed with their own blood", because "pleasures of the violence create orgasm". I admit that this is a new finding for well-educated fools like me. Furthermore, song titles such as "Pope Corpse Tattoo" speak for themselves. But come on, that's part of the business and even after 35 years of listening to extreme sounds, I cannot say that this kind of lyrics has any influence on my mentality. The music is what really counts. "Church of Amok" for example, shreds my nerves adamantly; the apocalypse breaks loose and I like it. Okay, the infernal doomsday scenario does not constitute a unique selling point of this track, but the concise guitar work with its simple and accessible line ensures that the track stands out. Nevertheless, "Fanatiko" works more or less as a whole, the album delivers a better overall picture than the sum of its parts. Honestly speaking, I am not quite sure whether this is the work of living humans. Anyway, it doesn't matter. Although I don't know the exact form of their existence, one thing is for sure. Barathrum are back from the dead.