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Ok, so this is the first piece of music from Zarach'Baal'Tharagh i've ever heard. Seeing all the negative reviews across this page, I just had to see what the fuss was all about. I'm afraid I still don't quite get it.
Ok, so i'll tell you exactly what Zarach sounds like. Since he seems to release something new every few weeks and all the reviews tend to say the same thing, i'm going to presume this is similiar to what all his stuff sounds like. The general song has some midpaced to fast thrashy riffing, a decent sounding drum machine and twisted, evil shrieks above the top. It isn't extremely raw, sure, it's not exactly high-priced studio quality, but all the instruments sound out well enough, there's no fuzz or static to speak of, nothing like that. Well, that's about half the music anyway. In between each track is a (shorter) dark ambient piece, generally composed of one or two slow chords, wind or ghostly whining sound effects and basically whatever else was around for Zarach to use as a creepy effect.
So, fair description, but is it any good? Yes. I like it. First of all I like the big 'Fuck Off' attitude behind it. Zarach has released over 50 demos and constantly seems to get slated, yet has never compromised his style one bit. The music is just about underproduced enough to say 'I dont care what people want, this is what I like' but not too underproduced so that it simply becomes one big Boreb-style gimmick.
Now, despite this attitude, the riffs here are actually really kickass! There are mid-paced teutonic-sounding thrash riffs, like in the intro to track 2, which is then sped up and played in tremelo over the fast drums. There are more slower, melancholic-sounding stuff that stetches out over the moans and cries, and then there are the one-note, fast, tremelo parts that build up to cresendos. Really, maybe the riffs here aren't exactly De Mysteriis worthy, but they're good for what they are, and if they were on a totally different album with a good production most people would enjoy them. What I also love about the riffs is that they don't all just stick to the general black metal style. There is tons of thrash here, and some pretty typical speed metal riffs, and heck, there's even stuff I could only describe as hard rock (such as track six at around 1:30).
Now, while I have established that I do like Zarach now, there are some faults to the music. The biggest is just that there are far too many ambient pieces. I tend to find these pretty boring in comparison to the guitar-oriented tracks, and so I think that this would be much more enjoyable if the ambient was left for just the intro and outro. Also, although it completely defeats the purpose, it would be nice if there was a bass sound involved in here, without it the music is a little more one-dimensional. And of course, real drums would be good, but the drum machine here sounds fine.
So don't expect a black/thrash masterpiece here, this is the work of one man, basically sewing together all the riffs he's come up with in one month, no matter what style they are, and recording some harsh black metal shrieks over the top, balanced out with some dark ambient pieces he seems to have such a fondness for too. I just love the idea behind it, I love the careless, 'I dont give a fuck' attitude, I like lots of the actual riffs and I think a great atmosphere is created. As I said, if there were bass here, it would sound better, but whenever the guitar begins to sound bare, the vocals come in and take your mind to darker places.
People who listen to this should be split into two groups, those who'll like it and those who'll hate it. There is no in between. You should know from this where you stand.
The work of Zarach Baal Tharagh is quite intriguing when observing it from the right standpoint, preferably one that involves you never hearing any of it. The main ingredients in creating a demo according to Luc Mertz involves: a lower-middle class affordable guitar and amp, a little girl’s recording device, a drum set or program (doesn’t matter which, no one questions Baal’s authority!), and some sort of hateful motivation. In this case, Baal is fucking pissed – and I mean like Richard Simmons pissed.
On this lifeless demo, “Nightmares” #334-343 might as well have been one strung-out track, since they all classify as the stereotypical “Metal” sound: loud and obnoxious howling/screaming/gagging mixed in with a sloppy guitar rhythm and some out-of-the-blue drumming that oddly sounds 15 meters away. Bass is nonexistent – I’m serious, there is literally nothing indicating the presence of a bass guitar. Hell, I doubt this guy needs it since his agenda is already clogged with monotonous jamming and alone time.
Sometimes he kicks in some shredding and a solo per track, but its hardly anything imaginative and sounds as if it was invented on the spot. The production only kills this further, revealing the shallowness of the recording and allowing the listener to contemplate whether the man takes his work seriously or just records himself playing at random.
After over 70 releases to this demo, you’d think the man would hit the spot. But alas, he doesn’t.