Album Review – Barkasth / Decaying (2018)

A new formation on the landscape of the Ukrainian Black Metal scene reveals the dark side of idolatry on human life and demonstrates the result of this pernicious influence in their debut full-length opus.

It’s time to get devilish, heavy and blasphemous with the interesting fusion of classic Black Metal with Melodic Black Metal and Blackened Doom blasted by a four-piece act hailing from Ukraine comprised of Arkhonth on guitars and vocals, Goreon also on guitars and vocals, Hagalth on bass and Malet on drums, collectively known as Barkasth. Formed in 2015 in Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine located in the northeast part of the country, Barkasth are spreading darkness not only in their homeland but everywhere else in the world with their debut full-length album, simply titled Decaying.

A new formation on the landscape of the Ukrainian Black Metal scene, Barkasth’s source of inspiration is a radically negative attitude towards religion, in any of its manifestations, as the main cause of obscurantism and distorted perception of reality – the main indicator for the level of ignorance of a contemporary man. Throughout the seven unrelenting tracks in Decaying, this Stygian horde reveals the dark side of idolatry on human life and demonstrates the result of this pernicious influence. In other words, the music by Barkasth presents no artificial elements nor any other type of shenanigans added to it, going straight to the point and showing the world Black Metal is still one of the most effective weapons against all forms of religion.

And the opening track Begging By Freaks comes crushing with a classic and epic beginning that beautifully evolves into a mid-tempo, blackened sonority where harsh and demonic growls are supported by the scorching riffs by  Arkhonth and Goreon. Put differently, this is a sulfurous and austere display of Melodic Black Metal infused with elements from Blackened Doom and traditional Doom Metal that will please all fans of the genre, whereas an even darker atmosphere serves as the background for the hellish Alone, with Malet delivering rhythmic but at the same time fierce beats while the harsh vocals by Arkhonth exhale blasphemy and hatred, all enfolded by a mesmerizing vibe. And in Blood & Flesh the band accelerates their pace, therefore reaching a more traditional Black Metal sonority with Malet delivering sheer darkness through his blast beast while Arkhonth growls like a true Black Metal veteran, turning it into one of the top moments of the album without any doubt, also showcasing cutting riffs that will pierce through your ears in a violent manner.

Soul Away gets back to a more introspective and obscure hybrid of Black Metal and Blackened Doom, with Arkhonth and Goreon, together with bassist Hagalth, shredding their strings mercilessly, while all the growling and roaring gets as deep, reverberating and demonic as possible; but it’s when they focus on their darkest and most aggressive Black Metal side that they truly thrive, and the title-track Decaying is the perfect depiction of that, with the entire band sounding flammable and infernal, in special Malet with his always demolishing and melodic beats. Then their disturbing and demonic vein arises once again in the visceral hymn Shepherd, with the sound of guitars penetrating deep inside your flesh amidst a feast of desperate and deep roars, not to mention how vile the whole ambience feels. Lastly, as the icing on the cake we have another cryptic, low-tuned aria of darkness entitled …Where Was The Son Of God, where the Doom Metal-inspired beats by Malet are flawlessly complemented by the guitar duo’s anguished lines, resulting in a captivating and very harmonious ending to the album.

Decaying, which is available for a full (and darkened) listen on YouTube and for purchase from the band’s own BandCamp page or from the Svarga Music mailorder, might be far from being a masterpiece or a reference in Black Metal, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an extremely well-crafted and solid album by this hardworking quartet, positioning Barkasth as one of the most promising new acts from the Ukrainian scene and definitely a band to keep an eye on in the coming years. Especially if, just like Barkasth’s band members, you also believe religion is one of the main factors in the imminent and inevitable downfall of our rotten society.

Best moments of the album: Blood & Flesh and Decaying.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Svarga Music

Track listing
1. Begging By Freaks 6:15
2. Alone 7:16
3. Blood & Flesh 5:53
4. Soul Away 5:17
5. Decaying 5:08
6. Shepherd 6:02
7. …Where Was The Son Of God 6:36

Band members
Arkhonth – guitars, vocals
Goreon – guitars, vocals
Hagalth – bass
Malet – drums

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The Walking Dead Review – Episode 413: Alone

Bob is not alone anymore, and that’s more than enough to make him happy even in the middle of the apocalypse.

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

If you haven’t seen Alone yet, I suggest you scroll down to the end of this post first and watch the entire episode before reading the rest of the text.

twd413_01Would you rather be alone or surrounded by other people in a zombie apocalypse? What if you choose to be with others, then you learn to like them, love them and live for them, just to learn that one day you’ll lose them and things are going to be even worse than when you’re completely by yourself? In my opinion, those were the biggest questions The Walking Dead wanted to left to the fans after last night’s episode. There were no answers to other important things, like where Rick, Carl and Michonne are, what Terminus really is or what happened to Glenn, Tara and Sergeant Abraham, though.

This episode was almost totally focused on the relationship between Bob and Sasha, with the inclusion of Maggie as the “desperate wife looking for her husband”, and more stupid scenes with Daryl and Beth “trying” really hard to screw up everything. By the way, it looks like one of the fan-favorite characters is becoming more and more like a rebel teenager, instead of growing up and becoming a man like Carl is. Again, are the writers trying to get more attention from the young female audience that’s afraid of zombies, and just want to watch the show because of Daryl? That’s not a wise choice of what to do with a good character, not at all.

But let’s go back to Bob, our main character in “Alone”. We finally got to know something about his past: poor Bob was just another lonely soul in a post-apocalyptical world, totally by himself, hopeless, wandering through the woods and facing at the same time his issues with alcohol and lots of flesh-eating zombies. We all have to admit that situation would be among the worst ones for any person with a heart and a soul, right? That’s exactly what Bob acknowledged after the attack at the prison that almost left each survivor on his own. Bob knows he’s the only person inside the prison that didn’t lose a loved one during or after the battle, and now for the first time in his post-apocalyptical life he’s not alone. He said there was some kind of “curse” on him, that he’s always the only survivor of his group, but fortunately it seems his fate has changed after being accepted at the prison (the third group in his life). In the end, that’s a very good reason for him to keep smiling even amidst so much destruction and death, and even after almost being bitten by a walker he looked relaxed! Well, Bob knows loneliness can be a lot more painful than any zombie bite, no doubt about it.

On the other hand, it takes some time for Sasha and Maggie to realize that, and therefore we see them struggling with their hopes and fears for too much time, not sure where to go and what to do. Sasha is more like that type of survivor that just wants to find a place to sleep and rest for some time, and she doesn’t want to think about Tyreese’s fate not even for a second, so strong is her fear of having lost him forever, while Maggie is just worried about finding Glenn no matter what (and that includes using zombie guts to create signs for Glenn!). One thing that I cannot stop thinking about is: what happened to Maggie’s southern accent? She sounds a lot more British now, has anyone noticed that too? Anyway, by the end of the episode, and after killing a bunch of zombies in very gruesome ways, they are ready to head to Terminus and finally find out if their loved ones are there too.

twd413_02Last but not least, I truly didn’t want to talk about Daryl and Beth anymore after last week’s episode, but as the writers are focusing on that new “romantic duo” there’s nothing we can do about it. While they were at that mansion/morgue pretending life was normal and eating junk food even surrounded by dead corpses with weird makeup, I was wondering how that scene would have been with Merle instead of Beth. The “Dixon Brothers” would never have been so sloppy or reckless like that. Daryl has officially put his guard down after losing his big brother, and guess what? They were ambushed by a mysterious psycho, who kidnapped Beth while Daryl had to fight against dozens of zombies attracted to the house by that eerie person. That was extremely predictable, and making Daryl look like a “crying boy without his new girlfriend” after that didn’t work well. At least now Beth will face some real danger and maybe stop being so childish, and let’s hope Daryl turns all his despair and desolation into anger, gets back to the old days, and uses his famous crossbow to kill those mercenaries, especially the one who seems to be their leader. His name, by the way, is Joe.

Alone (FULL EPISODE)