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VII: New and old sharing the tab - 70%

Byrgan, March 12th, 2010

The band returns with some minor adjustments to their outward appearance. They still have that sparkling-tooth-gleam production, and underneath the exterior, a nasty demeanor to make up for some of their glaring smile.

The prior album 'Saatana' gave us listeners one older demo track re-recorded, 'Okkult' with two to boast, and 'Venomous' with four to shout we don't want to lose our older fans with the gradually moving-on song writing.

Barathrum is the black metal band with the slower and medium pacing. They are just as simple in song writing form, often repetitious to build a growing mood. Though some of the tracks here are varied either with obvious older influences such as 'Black Death' using speed/thrash influences with rapid, every-other-click drumming and vocals using characteristic '80's style riffs. Or 'Black Flames and Blood' has some abstract sound effects sampled overtop; it uses a faster oriented section with tremolo riffs with the drums using rapid double bass and more of a thrash-paced speed, and it even has more of a chaotic solo running up the neck of the guitar. 'Witchmaster' has a slowly moving solo that elevates to a few more intricate notes; the sound is more smooth than dirty sounding, though fitting for the song. 'Sinister Autumn' includes a section with dual guitar lines playing slightly different riffs, one alternates as the other maintains the same momentum.

The title track 'Venomous' is Barathrum back to their experimentation days. The song itself is a series of oddities: vocals talking, whispering and essentially using incantations to summon something possibly monolithic, and then there are multiple guitar tracks using the pick to penetrate the strings in every which way but normal. 'Hills of the Nurn' sounds like Barathrum of old with that raunchy distorted bass. Along with 'Soaring Up From Hell' uses drenched vocal effects—delay, distortion, reverb: the works—that resemble the band in their earlier period.

Since the band is often repetitious in their song writing, it can get annoying here when they repeat a vocal line that was potentially irritating to begin with. Namely the songs 'Lusifer,' 'Would You Sleep With a Demon,' and 'Black Death.' These go on to say the title track name to different degrees throughout its span, though after playing the song in its entirety it would feel redundant and forced to go back for another go, as I can imagine the band's original intention was the opposite of that notion.

This album is effective to certain levels. Though it's funny that I find their most consistent songs here 'Witchmaster,' 'Sinister Autumn,' 'Hills of the Nurn,' 'Black Flames and Blood,' and 'Soaring Up From Hell.' Four of which are re-recorded tracks from their earlier, more shadowy days. I think I could have listened to this album without having to double check on that and still find them the more workable of the bunch. The title track 'Venomous' is good for a stab at some experimentation and 'Gloomy Fallen Angel' works on a basic song writing level, being not offensive nor inoffensive. Barathrum didn't come completely out of it with the other songs, it is just that the band is more generally appealing to extreme metal listeners, which causes them not to settle completely on either side of the fence. Being home to a dwelling that is haunted as it is contradictorily inviting. This goes along not only with their song writing but the production too. The drums, for instance, are triggered and artificial sounding, to the point where they might as well have played with an electronic kit. This album has a mixed mood as well, ranging from darker parts that brood with their slower parts to more upbeat sections that are entitled to some head bangs. Though it luckily doesn't try to employ those catchy guitar riffs that were distastefully sprinkled about on the last two recordings. Overall, this is something of a mostly good "sampler" with not enough portions to make a completely satisfying full course out of.