Reviewed: Barshasketh – Ophidian Henosis

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It took me all of one play through of Barshasketh’s album Ophidian Henosis to realise its immensity and imminent rise for contention as one of the best black metal albums I’ve heard in 2015. Yes, I am excited about this album, and no, I do not say this about every release I come across like some. This year has seen a number of excellent black metal releases including; Hæthen, Pale Chalice, Nocternity, Misϸyrming, Acherontas etc. with some more notable albums still to come; Mgła, Tsjuder, etc. on the way, and now I urge you to consider Barshasketh‘s superb new offering in the same light.

Originally hailing from Wellington (New Zealand) but relocating to Edinburgh (Scotland), Barshasketh clearly have an affinity for the cold. The swap between the chilling Antarctic-borne winds of the land of the long white cloud to the bleak climes of Scotland with its unpredictable North Sea influence, could be considered analogous to Ophidian Henosis’ beautifully shifting but frost-tinged hostility.

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Each song on Ophidian Henosis is simply differentiated by roman numerals IVII, which I sense is symbolic of the unity of each track within the whole. Barshasketh have created an entity. This entity has a dynamic and writhing presence which will encircle and eventually envelope your being. Stab play below and let the engulfment begin.

Imagine a combination of the poignant complexity found on Pale Chalice’s Negate The Infinte And Miraculous coupled with the ardent and searing melodies of Hæthen’s Shaped By Aeolian Winds and you start to get an idea of what this 4-piece have achieved on their third full-length album. No small praise either, as both of the aforementioned albums have been met with a largely positive reception and are held in high regard as two of 2015’s finest, not only amongst our collective, but in the larger and often unforgiving realm that is the internet metal community.

Barshaskethband01

From the overlaying textures created by the guitars, melding stunning harmony and sinisterly shaded rhythms, to the ominous and dulcet yet ever-present bass pulse, there is something majestic and stirring about this album. Persistent swirling melodies further emphasise the oneness of the entire composition. The drumming matches the shifts in tone perfectly, from the restrained slower passages to periods of outright blasting interspersed with free-flowing fills on both snare and tom-alike, there is nothing for me to fault here. Even from an outsider’s view I found the drums interesting throughout. I know when I’m spending entire playthroughs focused exclusively on the percussion that they’re doing something right. Without going overboard by fighting for the limelight, the drummer BB remains tasteful but still manages to add little things like placing subtle fills and changes every so often in the middle of the bar and really succeeds in keeping your attention.

Production is on the crisp side of things, which is fine by me because it is truly rewarding to hear the full extent of the interplay between the instruments here. While sparse, there are some elements of lead guitar to be found within, mostly through the use of slow drawn out bends that add yet another layer of refinement to the mix. One of my favourite and somewhat unexpected features of the guitar work is the slow emotive tapping section at the end of track II. The section brings a solemn and funereal tone to the set, as if the misery-laden grey clouds that have loomed overhead all day have finally broke and released their mournful liquid grief. While the vocals remain of a consistently gravelly nature, they do something that I think is lacking in some of their contemporaries’ output, they bear overt emotion at times. There are parts on this album where the vocals pierce through the foggy veil like elapid fangs, wretchedly injecting their sorrow into the target.

gatefold

For me, this winter down here in the Southern Hemisphere has been a journey into a sub-genre I’d overlooked for too long and bands like Barshasketh have made it feel like a pretty special time to delve in. Ophidian Henosis gets…

carny

You can get your copy of Ophidian Henosis from the World Terror Committee bandcamp page from July 30th (today!).

(Image viavia, via, via)

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  • Tyree
  • Stockhausen

    I’m glad I follow WTC on Bandcamp. They don’t put stuff out too often, but I was glad when I got this email. Nice review, Lizard ov Time!

    • Lacertilinger

      I really enjoyed the Acherontas they released earlier this year.

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        WTC puts out a lot of good stuff. Did you check late last year’s Dysangelium pair?

        • Lacertilinger

          I will now (or later this weekend, I’m jamming some of the stuff I haven’t heard from what Tyree posted above)

        • Stockhausen

          I missed that one, will check out. I really dug Ascension and Thy Darkened Shade, and probably others I forgot about.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Both Demo and album (no real difference) were tasty, the vocals especially had a nice bark-ey vibe to them.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            The Devathorn earlier this year wasn’t bad either and Amestigon came through WTC. But Horna is what I am most looking forward from them. @Lacertilinger:disqus

          • that new Amestigon >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

          • Lacertilinger

            Jammed some of that Horna this morning I think, can’t remember much though coz rum.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            There’s one song out so far, I think. And it sounds a little better than anything from their last album, which wasn’t bad.

          • Stockhausen

            I gave that new Horna track a few goes but it didn’t grip me like I wanted. I’ll check out the whole album when it’s out fo sho.

          • Lacertilinger

            Something has to grip your horna every now and then

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            (Horna is actually Hell)

          • Sir Tapir The Based :]

            (Don’t reveal our secrets to them)

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            (Oh shit I forgot)

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Yeah I can see that, the last album changed their style quite a lot, more than just a new vocalist. Back to the more primitive style of their early years but with a lot more rawness. The new track seems to bring back some of the coldness of the Corvus-era but only some.

      • Stockhausen

        You would, reptilian master race.

        • Lacertilinger

          I even enjoyed the ambient parts which some (not naming names coz they’re on a beach) say were too self-indulgent.

          • Stockhausen

            Wretched beach dwellers. I revisited a few tracks off that album just now, and it was tasty. But my heart longs to return to the new Chelsea Wolfe.

    • Howard Dean

      WTC is also the current home label to Grand Belial’s Key and Sigrblot! BYAH!

      German labels >>>>>
      No Colours Records, Iron Bonehead, WTC, Van Records, etc etc!!

      • Lacertilinger

        Iron Bonehead owns my wallet this year

  • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

    Time lizard is best lizard. Will jam this after my second Krallice spin.

    • Lacertilinger

      You’re allowed to play it again now?

      • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

        Aye, I think the snag was time-based.

    • The Fish Boz

      How many times have you listened to it? I can’t recall the last album I heard this much.

      • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

        5, I think.

        • The Fish Boz

          In 2 days, nonetheless. Nothing has captured me like this in 2015.

        • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

          And you still haven’t acquired it.

          • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

            I get paid tomorrow, Bear.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Ah payday. The best of days.

          • The Fish Boz

            I already have all my future purchases planned out for after I graduate. I need my license bruh

    • Tyree

      You listen to that like I do Misϸyrming.

      • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

        I’m an addict.

      • Stockhausen

        Did they release an album this year?

        *leans back, chuckles smugly at joke*

  • The Fish Boz

    I’m yet to jam this album in full but I just want to say this was a great write-up, lizardman.

    • Lacertilinger

      It’s worth trying in a full-dose.

  • Maik Bozinton™
  • What a great review, Lizard. Very informative, yet descriptive.

    I’m listening this. I’m with you about the drumming, it is not blasty tacatacatacatacatacataca all the time, the drummer embellesh the spaces with some drum fills and I really like that because it makes “move” the atmosphere. I think I can jam this too.

    Toilet ov Hell is killing today!

    • Lacertilinger

      I think the 5th track has a fair bit of blasting from memory, with some thrashy bits, I might have to push play again

      • Lacertilinger

        Actually, a few tracks do.

  • That “No Flush” logo is sexy.

  • DCLXVI

    So what are these guys doing different that makes them stand out from the frosty forest? I mean, it’s not bad, but it’s certainly not anything new, unique. What am I missing here?

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      Personally, I’ve only ever listened to few bands because they are unique or doing something new. This is especially true in black metal, quality is what I seek – nothing else.

      • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

        The band of whom we must not speak is pretty unique. Most are not.

        • The Locust?

          • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

            That isn’t a bm band, you rascal.

          • The Fish Boz

            It’s obviously Cradle Of Filth. I heard they are very symphonic and kinda goth. TBH I don’t think I can listen to them because it’s not very accessible.

        • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

          Indeed. Very much so. Unique can be very good even if it’s not what I go seeking.

    • Lacertilinger

      I didn’t really say that they were necessarily doing anything drastically different, they have just made a really enjoyable and fulfilling album in my books.
      What releases have been rolling your coal so far this year?

  • These melodies are banging!

    Happy Friday everyone!

    GL

  • Shit I picked a hell of a year to get into black metal 😀

    • next year you can get into power metal 😛

      • then bbmetal!

        -KJU

      • HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

      • Two sides: he can go with Rhapsody 8978947894 clones.

        Or become a trve warrior of merol like the Toilet Three Musketeers (Masterenglish, Randall & Link) THAT KILL POSERS WITH MIGHT, GET ALL THE COOL GIRLS AND OBTAIN NUMEROUS TREASURES OF EPIC PROPORTIONS.

        POWER OF RIFFS, COME TO MY MALANDRO-SLAYING BLADE +5!

        DIE!

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qbthekf4lms

        • I tried power metal for a while and eventually I realized I only really like Noble Beast and got tired of everything else real fast.

          • That’s ok, Jack. It is the birudilis that infected your counter-terrorist brain.

          • CT-12

            You’ve really gotta try old Blind Guardian and Helloween. I really think it’d be up your alley.

        • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

          Stop doxxing, bro.

        • Kevin Nash & Friends

          Helloween and Manilla Road are the best power merol.

        • A Dark & Curious Sausagefart

          Saw them with Gamma Ray back in 2008. Awesome show!

        • CT-12

          This album fucking rules so hard. A classic in thrash as well as power metal.

    • Howard Dean

      “Advice for your first year of listening to black metal”
      -Presented by Howard Dean, metal elitist:

      Don’t listen to anything released after 1996. Seriously. For your first year, there are more than enough classics to fill 365 black days just from c. 1983-1996. All of the genre defining albums were released before ’96, so you’ll get a great view into the genre without exposure to fifth generation derivatives or amalgams that are barely black metal.

      On day 366, listen to whatever you want. You’ll probably still find yourself listening to Burzum, Dissection, and Gorgoroth more often then not when you’re hankering for the darkness.

      • Appreciate the advice but I’m not one to go look in the past at where a genre has come from and would prefer to look at where it’s going. I already have a bunch of stuff I really like that came out after 1996 so that’s not gonna work lol.

        • Alternative suggestion: stop listening to black metal and only listen to straightedge hardcore.

          • where does being punk fit into your recommendation?

          • It’s a three step process.
            1. Make a change
            2. Start today
            3. Smash the state.

          • 4. Mosh

          • 4.a. 2-Step

          • 4-b. Archspire

          • A Dark & Curious Sausagefart

            1: Cut a hole in a box

            2: Put your junk in that box

            3: Make her open the box

            http://images.rapgenius.com/7aca62d7f62a28f51ffc9db38e59bb13.500x277x8.gif

          • A Dark & Curious Sausagefart

            Get Your Pull.

          • Howard Dean

            This is where punk fits in to my recommendation: punk-tinged thrashing black goodness!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGUaaQ6S3v4

          • Lacertilinger

            Why Straight-edge?
            Just coz he doesn’t drink or other, plz respond

          • I don’t think straight edge in this case refers to alcomohol

          • Petition to make booze edge.

          • I feel like we should call it “dull edge*
            cuz alchol mkes things fuzzzy

          • Stockhausen

            You mean it isn’t? Well I got these X tats for nothing.

          • …is that the guy from Counting Crows???

          • Howard Dean

            Mr. Jones ‘n’ me, tell each other fairy tales…

          • A Dark & Curious Sausagefart

            Then proceed to tickle each other’s jimmies.

          • imma say yes

          • A Dark & Curious Sausagefart
          • A Dark & Curious Sausagefart
          • Stockhausen

            Cuz ignant and violent.

          • As a shameless drunk, I think the additional self-righteousness of straightedge makes it more fun.

          • KJM

            There’s being sober and then there’s “straight edge”.

          • CT-12

            Thank you. I very rarely drink and I don’t do drugs, and I don’t care if other people do. But I can’t tell you how many times people have seemed offended or acted like I was judging them when I’ve denied a toke or a beer or whatever.

          • KJM

            Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you, and I’ll try not to blow my smoke your way. ^_^

          • CT-12

            Speaking of smoke, I submitted a big fat doom/stoner/sludge article that (hopefully) should be popping up next week. Cheers! *chugs a big, lame, gallon of milk. Vomits violently. Proves no point*

          • KJM

            Awesome. No matter what it’s about, I’ll at least read it.

          • CT-12

            Woot!

          • Sir Tapir The Based :]

            I don’t smoke, do drugs or drink, but I’m not a dick about it (at least I don’t think I am). I know I can’t handle drugs or alcohol. I would surely get addicted.

          • KJM

            brb gonna shoot myself

          • Sir Tapir The Based :]

            Have fun!
            :]

          • KJM

            More fun than Straight Edge Hardcore, that’s for certain.

          • Sir Tapir The Based :]

            I have never listened to straight edge hardcore. Could you explain a bit?

          • KJM

            You’re better off looking elsewhere for a good explanation. Every song is about how wonderful it is not to smoke or drink and that those who do so are scum, very authoritarian & self righteous.

          • Sir Tapir The Based :]

            Seems like they’re being quite the dicks.

          • KJM

            Indeed

          • A Dark & Curious Sausagefart

            It’s the worst bro music this side of deathcore and metalcore.

          • I LOVE ROBERT AND MY FISHES.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU6U-8LP1DY

          • CT-12

            Even the old shit like Minor Threat and SS Decontrol?

          • KJM

            SSD is cool.

          • A Dark & Curious Sausagefart
          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            Another suggestion for the open minded: listen to post hardcore. There is good post hardcore out there.

          • sxe hxc

          • A Dark & Curious Sausagefart
        • Stockhausen

          I’ve tried off and on to get into the classics (should probably try harder at some point, maybe), but the newer stuff is what’s really gripped me over the last few years. I hear you.

        • Howard Dean

          I get that, too. I get not wanting to explore the past. It’s exciting to chase new releases. I do that a lot, too.

          I just scratch my head sometimes when dudes are talking about some random black metal band’s amazing, groundbreaking new album and they haven’t even listened to a full classic Gorgoroth album. Or Immortal. Or Blasphemy. Or Graveland. Or Bathory. It’s not just nostalgia: a lot of the classics are really, really good, and they laid the foundation for the Misthyrmings and Deathspell Omegas and Revenges of today. I just prefer having a frame of reference.

          • Yea I feel you but the other issue is I have a metric fuckton of music to listen to between the genres I enjoy, namely tech death, black metal, grindcore, skronk and death metal and I just don’t have the time or the room on my playlist for the older stuff. It’s not just black metal, I never listened to the classics in tech death or death metal either.

          • Howard Dean

            I get it. It’s chasing the dragon, the inundation with and subsequent over-consumption of metal. There’s so much of it out there. I feel the same way sometimes. It’s made me be a lot pickier.

            I hope someday you get a chance to visit the classics of black, death, and thrash, because they are the tits. Lots of fun stuff, and a lot of it holds up even under the modern lens.

          • CT-12

            Sometimes when I want to get better acquainted with stuff (as I know it can feel overwhelming when wanting to familiarize yourself with SO MUCH music), I sometimes delete everything on my MP3 player, and then only add one or two albums from a certain genre, from certain era, etc, that end up effectively leaving me with a small, concise sampler of different music. You end up with way less stuff to listen to, which usually means you end up listening to one album a few times, get bored, try on another, and so on and so forth. Just a suggestion from one music lover to the other.

          • Stockhausen

            It’s definitely a difficult balancing act depending on when and how you get into a genre. I know just enough of the evolution of black metal’s sound to know when a new album is a really obvious ripoff of a hundred albums before it, and I do try to avoid those. I pledge to listen to a full Bathory album this week.

          • Howard Dean

            I recommend Under the Sign of the Black Mark or Blood Fire Death. The s/t debut and The Return… are both good, but Under the Sign… is pretty much the blueprint to second wave bm and Blood Fire Death is the great transitional album–still black, but birthing the viking sound at the same time. Hammerheart and Twilight of the Gods are both great and highly recommended, but they certainly aren’t black metal.

          • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

            I like early Bathory more than most of their contemporaries.

          • A Dark & Curious Sausagefart

            Or even listened to any Dimmu Borgir.

          • Howard Dean

            Seriously. Demon Burger have taken a lot of shit, and their mid-and-later career stuff is pretty shitty, but For All Tid and even Stormblast are pretty good.

          • A Dark & Curious Sausagefart

            Their early stuff is fucking awesome, and plus they gave us Old Man’s Child and the singer for Arcturus.

      • So basically just listen to Dad Black Metal? lolz r u srs?

        • Howard Dean

          No, I’m saying just listen to black metal, particularly the foundational acts. Know where it came from, how it sounds, and how it evolved. It’ll make one’s exploration of the present and future that much more rewarding.

          • I was just being facetious. Good rec though!

      • Lacertilinger

        Dissection made me appreciate BM where no other band had been able to. Partly my fault though as I wasn’t giving it a real chance.
        Storm Of The Light’s Bane >>>
        I’m still a massive noob

      • Sir Tapir The Based :]

        Dude, you forgot to mention the first and best BM album, Sunbather. That one really gave birth to black metal.

    • A Dark & Curious Sausagefart

      Yep, there be gold in them thar dark and frostbitten hills!

  • I eagerly await to hear this track. Put in an order the other day. Few things satisfy me more than a really good black metal album.

  • A Dark & Curious Sausagefart

    Goddayum, this is some good shit! Definitely sensing quite a bit of old school Emperor influence.

    http://i.imgur.com/Dangq25.gif

    • Bozamole Jim

      GAH

      -> now we each owe Cybernetic Organism royalties for ripping him off.

      • A Dark & Curious Sausagefart

        Gah, as in you hate Emperor?!?!

  • this shit had me like