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Bouq are a one-man band from Jordan based around the efforts of Muhannad Bursheh, which on second album "Berserk" sees him release an unwaveringly blistering extreme metal attack befitting the band name that apparently translates as 'war horn'. The album, which by and large is a fairly well developed affair for a one-man band mixes Marduk extremity, a strong war feel, a few of the Middle Eastern flourishes found in Bilocate and a fair smattering of synth effects, notable in the introduction to "Heathen" and "Desrever Alumrof Ecnetsixe". Bursheh's vocals tend to rest on the very gruff and ghastly akin to Blood of Kingu's; yes, one could argue they add to an overall demonic atmosphere but much of "Berserk"'s 38-minute duration is actually more varied in mood than most utilisers of such a vocal style. Not until closer "Of Ragnarök" do bellowing clean tomes appear, unfortunately too late in the party for their beneficial effects to take hold.
Being a sole unit the inevitability of drums come into question. The blurb I have includes drums as one of Bursheh's accomplishments, but crucially, 'programming' is in there as well. The precision triggering at the heart of many a moment here suggests there is as much 'programming' as 'drums' going on, most confusingly found in the short instrumental "Nature's Cult" which is both amateurish and a surefire way of all but eliminating any chance of widespread success. One just can’t help but feel these moments have been pulled from a pre-production demo rather than a finished product. Getting past this reveals tracks like "Wrath Of A Warrior's Soul", "Of Ragnarök" and "Jormungander" the possessors of a dark spirit and a few decent riffs to suggest Bouq/Bursheh has something going for him, but given the average quality of much else to be found there is still a long way to go before you'll find me raving about this release as I did the aforementioned Bilocate one.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net