Barkasth - Decaying
Svarga Music
Black Metal
7 songs (42'27")
Release year: 2018
Reviewed by Alex

I am not going to be able to provide you much of an explanation of what moniker Barkasth means. Limited research that went into the understanding of the term bore no results. What I was able to find is that Barkasth hails to us from the Ukrainian hotbed of black metal, the city of Kharkiv, and that their debut Decaying was released on Svarga label, the entity I associate with quality in Ukrainian black metal. Decaying is not the exercise in folk or mainly atmospheric black metal, and it is not a symphonic keyboard-laden piece either, despite a couple of Barkasth members playing a part in Elderblood pre-Messiah album Son of Morning. Instead, if anything, Barkasth play more traditional black metal without being overly brutal, and, if you can subtract synth altogether, some early Dimmu Borgir without the unnecessary bombast can be invoked.

My first impressions of Decaying weren’t that earth shattering, but the more and more dives I took into the album, the more and more I liked it. Not high on tempo, the first blastbeat does not appear until the opening of the third track Blood & Flesh, Decaying slowly wins you over by the shear interest of melodic structures it manages to build. In that sense, as to how these sturdy rugged riffs roll across mid-tempo double bass foundations, the album reminded me a bit of epic Greek black metal, of the bands like Kawir and Varathron. The devastating bottom end with prominent bass and heavy drums supports guitars which have a lot of electric edge and can be hurtful with their meaty distortions. Songs like Begging by Freaks, title track, Alone or … Where was the Son of God unfold the steady buildup in waves, with proud grimness being gruelingly consistent. Blood & Flesh is plenty thrashy and blistering, and Shepherd has its fair share of melodic tremolo inflections, yet the majority of Decaying prefers to be steeped in arms folded muscular gravity than go after frenetic raw meat chaos. To add a second layer of lower register booming vocals to the foundational throaty screams, as it is done in Soul Away, even hints at Batyushka-like preachy black Mmetal, where orthodoxy doesn’t stand for how it was done in Norway in early 90s, but for what Eastern Slavic culture considers to be orthodoxy, even though Barkasth lyrical message seems to be profoundly anti-religious.

An interesting album which takes its time to sink in, once penetrated the shroud Barkasth put on with Decaying, I was very much willing to explore every depth and layer the album so aptly provides.

Killing Songs :
Begging by Freaks, Alone, Blood & Flesh, Soul Away, ... Where Was the Son of God
Alex quoted 82 / 100
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