WHEN: Out Now
WHERE: Black Bow Records
WHERE: Black Bow Records
I’ve noticed that Metal is a genre that gets ignored quite a bit on Exploding Head Syndrome. Fortunately there’s an entire shadow dedicated to promoting the best Metal around but you know, sometimes I think it would be nice to just say hey Metal, you’re a pretty cool guy. Last year our first Metal review was Sister’s Disguised Vultures, and this year it’s Spectres by Bast. This record was released last year but because it was so good it has been given a rerelease, allowing us to talk about it fondly here today.
The London trio combine elements of black and doom metal to create something that not only envelopes the ear canals but also encases it with pummelling instrumentals and vocals that sound just on the border of causing an aggressive bout of vomiting. Opening track In The Beginning kicks off Spectres with the above. This seven minute epic dishes out a ridiculous, fast paced flurry of heavily gritty guitars and drums that not only punches you in the fast but also ascends into the heavens and punches your guardian angel in the face too. Amongst the shadows Bast fill this track with unrelenting riffage, fantastic drum fills and vocals that sound very much like they need a Lemsip or two. The closing half of this track transitions into a heavily doom-y section featuring a thick, thick guitar riff that is impossible to swallow as it crashes and bashes its way through onto the following track Denizens, this time a ten minute battle against some terrifically gloopy sludge.
The slower paced Denizens brings forth similarities to the likes of Kyuss at their heaviest which throws Wolves In The Throne Room comparison from the opening track right out the window. Bast then transform this track into a stark escape into an atmosphere that is melodic yet unnerving, like something Swans could have produced for their To Be Kind album. The pace continuously gets picked up and dropped throughout but my favourite moment is the little section in-between the melodic and original riff which allows the drums to go all out and the guitars to deliver something that is emotive as it is crushing.
Bast really take things up another level of brilliance as the title track and the halfway point of the record is a fast paced masterpiece in superb song writing, as the three piece showcase a selection of riffs, drum fills and tempos which are pinned against each other to create something that somehow just…works. Works very well. Once again the band’s likeness for melody comes through for a section that actually sounds really nice and lovely, before making a quick exit for the return of the pummelling riffs.
The eleven minute journey of uneasiness that is Psychonauts is a fantastic attempt at creating something ambient and Bast really do succeed at bringing a lot of tension and uncertainness into the track through riffs and drums that sound too far away for anybody to really be aware of what they’re doing. There’s never really a payoff featured in this song, but closing track Outside The Circles Of Time certainly helps forge one before the album finishes. An almost post-rock introduction completes with a funky-ish drum beat and elegant guitars wash all of the tension away and reproduce an atmosphere that fits the title perfectly. An almost clean vocal is heard amongst the tranquillity and it’s at this point we begin to wonder the direction Bast is heading in with this track. Fortunately it’s one that offers much more distorted, tempo and brutality as the three piece build it up into this fantastic reason to keep enjoying this record over and over as they close it out with some of the most brutal material on it.
Spectres is a fantastic album from Bast, and we are definitely glad it received a rerelease. While it doesn’t necessarily show its true qualities immediately it certainly gets the listener intrigued enough to warrant repeated listens. Once everything clicks this record becomes an entertaining adventure into the unknown, and even if you reach a point where you know it very well, you’ll still continue to be amazed by everything it reveals. For more music reviews, free downloads and metalllllllllllllllll check out Exploding Head Syndrome on Facebook and Twitter.