This one is with me for some time, and finally I’ve kicked myself in the ass to give it a listen. That’s not a fault of Barkasth, I just haven’t been in a mood for black metal storm lately.

And storm here it is! Barkasth hails from Ukraine and there are unmistakable Slavic folk influences in the guitar melodies (and that’s absolutely a good thing), plus the whole stuff still betray its roots in the second wave of BM from its heyday of the 1990s.

Opening track, “Funeral”, welcomes listeners to the tried formula of speedy passages and slowish pieces in between, with the pissed off vokills reigning over them all. As they say, if it’s not broken… and our Ukraine’s warriors confirm the old saying as well.

For those who haven’t understood, this is a well-oiled black metal machine, which doesn’t fuck around with any novelties, just does what it does best. Straight to the point, uncompromising black metal as it should be.

“Take Me Back”, the second song here, does indeed take me back to the aforementioned days of the 1990s, and as such there is nothing you can complain about. Actually, it’s more varied than the opener, and that squeeling quitar is fuckin’ cool, almost a hardcore riff! And that is, my folks, the shortest song on the album, clocking at 4:43. I am not gonna say I am overwhelmed, but impressed I am. This is a really nice tune to enjoy. Pure and simple.

And then, “Lord of Justice”. From the very start I fell in love with the double bass beats, I love that wall of sound. I wish I could play like that…well, it’s not gonna happen anymore. Although we are here not to discuss my (poor) drumming skills, haha. The song is pretty simple, I’d say, concentrating of the old “there is a beauty in simplicity” statement, but to enhance it a little, the doubled vokills (one typical blackmetalish, the other growling), plus nice melody in the second part of the song make it another interesting track, but just when you think you’ve heard it all here, guys switch into the metalcore (sort of) mood. I haven’t expected that, that’s for sure. I can’t say I am not enjoying it, it’s just pretty strange. But that guitar solo is top notch. Black metalcore…who’d think it would be a thing. Hm.

With “Ode to Death” we’re encountering a slower tempo, and adding the more atmosphere into the mix. Good choice. The song speaks to the listener (definitely me) with its underlying feeling of sadness, and suddenly…we’re in a faster mood and this one reminds me of…don’t know. But I know I like the stuff, the songwriting, the production. I’d probably take back my earlier words, because guys here incorporate even modern stuff here and again, I can’t praise the guitar solo (starting at 5:10) enough. Give me a sec, I need a repeat of it. Flawless and amazing.

With last two songs I was little worried. “Hear My Void” is 7:13. That length of song can break the good album apart. But my fears were unfounded. The song feels more like an another act from the previous “Ode to Death” and the atmosphere here just makes me to let my headphones on forever, close my eyes and just enjoy the spiralling into the oblivion. Surely, one wouldn’t even notice how the time flies with this song. Both thumbs up for that.

And the last hymn. Majestic “Ashen Sacrifice”, clocking in 8:21, and a great conclusion of the great album. Atmospheric…this is like a mighty fog raising from the dense Ukrainian forests, the song grasps you with all its strength (and I can assure you it has that strength) and leads you on the path to the peak of the mountains high, to show you the beauty of the land, the feel the wind in your hair…this is the stuff you want to listen to when you need an inspiration to go on.

I can’t decide which one will be my favourite song here. I am quite in favour of the simpler, mightier sound, but even the flirting with modern influences proves successful. Well, I’ll be damned. I like them all.

Well done, guys. Well done, and Slava Ukraini!



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