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Fuck off. - 20%

firebee1, January 19th, 2009

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a demo from an old band that I've enjoyed. It wouldn't be unfair to assume that demos of this nature should be at least somewhat enjoyable since demos are released with the intent of showcasing ability and this band Barathrum has been around a good while. Once more, and this is surprising me less and less all the time, this is not so. I don't know how labels end up signing bands like Dismember, Enslaved, Darkthrone, Satyricon and so on with the poor quality demos they release. Perhaps label executives have some sort of magical ability to see through the walls of shit that make up the production of these demos and see actual potential in it all. Hell I wish I had that ability, it would make Merzbow sound AMAZING.

Anyway, here we have Battlecry, one of many demos released by Barathrum in the early 90s. Epilogue opens it up (which I don't understand since an epilogue is the conclusion to something) with some down-pitched garbled spoken passage which I can only assume is about Satan or the world coming to a fiery end. I'm cool with that though, Bathory's first album is full of all that Halloween Satanism that ices the cake that is the album's catchy riffs and thunderous drumming. On Battlecry, however, this is taken a bit too far. The four songs on this album (excluding the intro and outro tracks) feature your typical sloppy-styled black metal vocals, but they're pitch-shifted to fuck! This is no doubt to try and make it all more sinister. Sure the guitars and drums and shit are all there doin' their thang, but with those stupid hell-retching vocals I don't really care to even listen to them seriously. I could, I suppose, this is one of those rare cases where the production is really competent and all instruments can be heard without having to mentally filter out static. There's no point, really, because the riffs could be good but I can't think of myself ever listening to this for my own pleasure because of the vocals. The best I can say is that the music is mid-paced with no blast beats going for a silly-scary sort of mood, a departure from the fast-blasting overwhelmingly foreboding black metal we're familiar with. I honestly don't give a fuck, though.

It's the early 1990s and Barathrum wants to make their black metal evil, which is a noble intent, but if I wanted to listen to something just because it was evil, I'd listen to that album that Anton LaVey put out in the 60s that had a recording of one of his Church of Satan sermons with some devilish organ music playing alongside as backdrop. But I don't come to black metal seeking blasphemy, at the end of the day it's still just the music that matters. Here, that strive for darkness goes too far and the music is not good. Case closed.