Friday Guest List w/ G.M. of Barshasketh
In this first edition of a new series we’re running where we get some insight into what influences and interests your favourite artists, I spoke to G.M of Barshasketh about 5 U.K bands to keep your eye on.
Barshasketh just got back from their first trek to Australia to play the Dark Mofo festival, how did that go?
Hard to complain, we were treated very well. Gratitude to the whole festival staff and to Chalky and Southern Extremeties Productions in particular!
The whole festival is something a little different to the kind of underground shows and fests that we typically play. In fact Hymns to the Dead is only a small part of a much wider collection of events that can take more or less any form, but must fit in with the general themes of Dark Mofo, which is to celebrate the dark side of life. I can’t imagine there is anything like it anywhere else in the world, it’s definitely completely unique.
The pics looked awesome. Was it cold enough in Tasmania to feel black metal appropriate?
To be honest, it didn’t feel especially cold to us, these things are all relative, I suppose. I was joking with the guys that we flew from the other side of the world, where it is the height of summer and the temperature was pretty much the same in Hobart as it was in Edinburgh. By way of comparison, it’s pouring down outside as I’m typing this and the temperature is 12°C. Our drummer is from Finland and in winter, the temperature can drop as low as -35 there. In spite of this, we felt perfectly comfortable performing in Hobart, since special lighting had been installed for the festival and so forth in order to create the right atmosphere.
What’s next for the band? You’ve started tracking for the next album right?
Yes, that’s correct. The drums have already been recorded and I’m currently working on guitars. We are working with Tore at Necromorbus Studio in Stockholm once again. I don’t want to reveal too much more about it for the time being, but I will say that we are all working extremely hard on what we feel will be our most complex and cohesive work to date. We’ve put a lot of thought into every aspect of composing the album and now the challenge that remains is to nail the remaining bits of tracking, the production and the visual aspect as well.
Looking forward to hearing that, Ophidian Henosis was superb. In the mean time, we’ll head into today’s topic, you’re going to take us through 5 U.K Bands To Watch. So I’ll hand over now and let you get into it.
I should perhaps preface this list by stating that the UK scene is probably not the most remarkable in the world in terms of producing quality extreme metal bands, especially relative to its population. This despite it’s unique history with respect to death metal and grindcore in particular, and metal overall, if we’re going to consider a wider stylistic spectrum and longer period in history. HOWEVER, I can attest to the fact that there are a small number of excellent bands emerging at the present moment that do deserve your attention, and I will do my best to help you sort the wheat from the chaff with this short list. The intention here is to highlight new and exciting projects, as such, I’ve omitted many excellent established bands that can still rightly be considered to be underground, as they fall outside the scope that I have defined for myself with this article.
Vacivus are my pick for the best death metal band to emerge from the UK in recent times. You are about to hear a lot more about them since they are scheduled to release their debut album through Profound Lore in the fall. Stylistically, we’re talking about something that’s very much anchored in a 90’s riff-driven song construction (think early/mid Morbid Angel, early Deicide and early Immolation), combined with the more modern cavernous type of production that’s been in vogue with a lot of newer old-school DM revival acts. The result is songs that are tightly and deliberately structured and simultaneously emanates a sinister atmosphere. These guys are phenomenal live, in fact, those of you in the UK should keep an eye out for an upcoming tour announcement…
Those of you that keep a close eye on underground black metal releases might have heard of these guys already. Lunar Mantra released their debut EP Genesis in 2015, and it was simply one of the finest black metal releases of the year, full stop. Darkly melodic and imbued with a unique ethereal atmosphere, it sets itself apart as something a bit different to the type of folk-tinged black metal the UK scene has been known to produce in more recent times. I’m eagerly awaiting their next release and I have no doubt that this band is going to reach a larger audience over time.
Ok, so this is a band that has been in the works for a long time and has yet to release any material to this day. However, I am told that they will soon remedy this and offer up their debut release. Having heard some of the demos already, I can tell you that this is seriously high quality stuff. Stylistically, if I had to try to describe it, I would say that it marries the oppressive, morbid atmosphere of a band like Grave Miasma with some of the more straight up and percussive elements of early Hate Eternal. Take a note of the band name, and remember that you heard about them here first!
Deitus are a recently formed melodic black metal band from London with only one studio release to their name, their other release being a live demo. Acta Non Verba showcases some really solid black metal and seem to be predominantly influenced by the classic Swedish approach to black metal, the hallmarks of which are a strong sense of melody combined with a number of more aggressive riffs and with a slight touch of hard rock weaved in. Perhaps not entirely revolutionary, but a very promising release that exhibits excellent musicianship. A well-executed take on the sort of sounds that were produced by Dissection (first two albums only) in their day. Definitely a band to keep an eye on going forward.
These guys have been going since 2011 and have four releases under their belt already, so they are probably the most experienced of all the bands listed here, however, they have only really come to prominence following the release of their EP Three Devils Dance, which was released by Invictus Productions last year. Stylistically, this is quite close to the hellish soundscapes that were developed in the Australian underground DM scene for years by Portal and Impetuous Ritual, as well as some acts closer to home like Abyssal. On the other hand, there is a clear war metal influence from bands like Revenge and Diocletian in the more straightforward approach taken to the drum parts which are less dynamic than what you would find in the first group out bands. I, for one will be keeping a close eye on their next release to hear how this band will expand on what they have shown so far, and so should you!
Well that’s it for our first edition, make sure you check out Barshasketh’s masterful 2015 album Ophidian Henosis on Bandcamp, and follow the band on their Facebook page to keep up to date with news on the upcoming releases/tour dates.