Wolves In Their Own Room
Naming a raw atmospheric black metal album after a popular brand of hot sauce would probably not be advisable unless you were Immortal so it is for the best that they didn’t. Turns out Sitra Achra describes the inner conflict between morality & base instinct in the Jewish mystical text, the Zohar. You wouldn’t get that level of fact checking in Metal Hammer now would you, my friends! So Barshasketh‘s second album, The No Feeling comes all the way from New Zealand with a brief de-tour through Scotland to pick up a full lineup.
Opening with the full on Mercyful Fate atmospherics, it becomes immediately apparent that Barshasketh’s musical ability far outweighs that of your average corpse-painted tremolo pickers. Through the Burzum-esque low fi knifed speaker cone fuzz cuts a clinically clean tone you would never expect. Malaise’s individual elements might be about as trad-black as you can get but the intensity & otherworldly riffing serves as more as tribute to Hellhammer’s unbeatable formula than the desperate rakings of a band with nothing in their music testes. The technicality & composition however, along with the truly bleak aura they generate, sets them apart from others in the genre.
L’Ange Du Meridien‘s initial intensity segues beautifully into Alcestian territory with haunting clean leads layered over frantic guitar work. Things end on the amazing Schlußstück, proving that they can slow things down to blackened doom tempos with Agallochian passages alternated carefully with break-neck riffing. Inevitable comparisons will be drawn to the likes of WITTR, Peste Noire & Krallice but Barshasketh refused to let myopic fanboyism distract them from their goal of breeding something dark & raw yet technically competent & progressive.
Barshasketh tread the very precarious tightrope of raw black metal production by never straying too far from the biscuit tin for fear of angering Nokturnäl Pissfistör & his Norwegian-by-way-of-Surrey trve khums. Thankfully though they also never sacrifice quality for extra Tesco Kvlt Kard points & slip off into the realms of 56k modem guitar tones & gutpuke vokillz. This balance is most refreshing as I wade through a sea of Borgir vs Darkthrone clones & I struggle to work out side I hate more. Not really, Borgir can fuck off. Distractions aside, Sitra Achra is an intelligent, mature entry into a swamped genre. Stick a “Fenriz approved” sticker on this, it’ll be on Band of the Week any day now.