We spent some time the last few days eschewing the idea that metal always has to be about negativity and pain. It doesn’t always have to be that way, which makes this landscape so diverse. But sometimes the bottom line truly is hatred, disgust, and malignant thought, which we get a nice dose of today.
Baton Rouge-based Barghest haven’t exactly been silent lately. They released last year’s hellacious “The Virtuous Purge” and were one of the acts that practically burned down Gilead Fest with their terrifying intensity. The band has done a fine job mixing raw black metal with death over the course of their run, and now they have a blistering new EP “Into Weeping Firmament” that they are releasing themselves. The band refers to the music you’ll hear on these three tracks as a sort of “return to form,” and there’s justification in that as the material is more violent and raw than what we heard on “Virtuous.” Bottom line, though, the band just sounds pissed and full of intent to do harm, which is all most people really ask of a Barghest release in the first place. So if you’ve been along with the band since the start, no way you’re not going to like what you hear on this release.
The Barghest lineup actually has shifted quite a bit. Daemontis has taken over on vocals, and Qutaybah now is on bass, taking over for Matthew Thudium. Jason Thorning and Dallas Smith remain on guitars, and Philth dominates on drums. Whether this release is merely a stop-gap or a hint as to where they’re headed in the future, it matters not. It’s a fiery slab of hell that will align with every horrible thought you’ve ever had about humanity (and if you watch the news or keep up with domestic politics, how could you not be overflowing with it?), plus it sounds downright infernal. You can download the thing right now from the group’s Bandcamp (see link below) for a mere $3, or if you prefer a physical copy, those are forthcoming on CD from the band.
We get started with “Application of Malthusian Principle,” a track that opens with raw drumming, strong riffs, and vocals that just tear you apart. The assault works its way into slow-driving, doomy terrain, with the beatings issued in a calculated fashion, and the atmosphere is totally bleak and vicious. Mournful guitars arrive and dress the thing in black, leading to the pace igniting all over again and the band hitting you with a mauling fury. They thrash heavily, conjuring a relentless black metal storm, and you’re not able to refocus or catch your breath again until all of this insanity dies down and slips out into the night. This track is a total crusher, vintage Barghest that should be a blood sport to witness played live.
“Neo-Promethean” has an immediate eruption of terror, with gruff vocals, lightning-fast playing, and the feeling you’re being lured into a bare-knuckle beating. Melodies do arrive, though they’re dark as hell, and parts of this track are alluring and even infectious. “Light this fire,” is howled, with thick, clubbing playing lighting the ignition, with a final serving of war-torn devastation unfurled before you, letting you take one last smothering before any sense of mercy is offered. Finally, we’re headed into “Leper’s Den,” which starts with guitars rumbling and furious darkness spread out as far as the eye can see. The melodies and playing leave welts, with the guitars smeared in blackness and the vocals packed with menace. The playing is clobbering and wrenching, the whole thing catches steam and hammers into a crescendo, and the final moments are fire crackling, reminiscent of the last fibers of the world burning away.
Barghest sound totally in command on “Into Weeping Firmament,” and anyone who plans to attend the band’s live shows better take heed. These guys are as bloodthirsty and furious as ever, and these three tracks prove this band isn’t backing down or taking it easy anytime soon. Take that $3 you were going to spend on a shitty coffee and get something that’ll really deliver the goods. Barghest are massive beasts that want to kill you, and this EP makes that so abundantly clear.
An early version of this story had the old lineup listed. You weren’t dreaming if you read that. We just went ahead and fixed the glitch.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/barghestsoulless
To buy the album, go here: https://barghestsoulless.bandcamp.com/