Saturday, January 28, 2017

CD Review: BARZAKH In A Meaning The Note

In A Meaning The Note
The earliest incarnation of Indonesia’s Barzakh formed during a rehearsal session in 1997; a year later they officially became a band. Today they refer to themselves as black metal though when they got together they drew from thrash, grindcore, death metal and punk. It was in 1998 they decided to gravitate toward black metal and develop from there. In A Meaning The Note is their second full length released in 2007 (re-released by Hibernacula in 2014); their most recent appearance on record/CD is a split released in 2015 by Satanath Records featuring Barzakh next to Goresluts (Malaysia), Horrific Disease (Japan), Savage Deity (Thailand), Shadowmirth (Brunei) and Suicidal (Singapore). As this collection of songs from extreme bands from Asia was limited to 500 copies I can’t say if it’s still available after two years; the Satanath label would have that information. In A Meaning The Note is still available in digital/download format from Barzakh; bassist Getz sent me the complete sound files via social media. As a listener who is getting a late introduction to this band, I’d have to say this full length starts on a sufficiently solid note with Shadow In The Grief, which is decent melodic black metal in the style of Amon Amarth with much double bass drumming and dual vocals. The song shortly turns to a faster velocity with tight guitars and precise thrashing. The album ventures to cult territory with She’s Not Honoured as some of Barzakh’s death metal roots show in the guitars. The same can be said for Hatred In Mourn Heart, though there were some parts in this song that brought Voivod to mind with its electronic effects and there was a Kirk Hammett-esque guitar solo soon after. The Valley of Unrest, turning back toward the band’s exploration of black metal, is one of my personal favorites for its unexpected blast section. A Place To Pray, another personal favorite, is rawer with thrash-like time changes with a healthy 80s flavor, some death metal influence, impressive guitar soloing and more relentless blast. This cut probably best personifies the band’s ability to combine all their collective influences. The Satanic Place is straightforward black metal and Halutination Of Psycho boasts the band’s punk roots and more Kirk Hammett-like soloing alongside its blast sections. In A Meaning The Note is an album that progressively grows on you the more you listen to it. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Shadow In The Grief
2. She's Not Honoured
3. Hatred In Mourn Heart
4. The Valley Of Unrest
5. A Place To Pray
6. The Satanic Place
7. Halutination Of Psycho

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