Bastard Of The Skies – Tarnation

Challenging for nastiness album of the year Tarnation from British metalers Bastard Of The Skies is a thick corruption for the senses, a mugging of emotions through massive towering riffs, even heavier intensity, and a sludge driven enveloping noise of the highest order. Though the album arguably does not trigger the fiercest passions as some other similarly gaited releases it is impossible not to be impressed and in awe of the power and craft behind and fuelling the intrusive colossus.

From Blackburn, Bastard of the Skies has left immensely destructive and provocative sounds since forming in 2006. Across two albums, an EP, and a split release with Catatomic earlier this year, the quartet has cultivated and evolved their impactful sound and invention to, in the album Tarnation, create a monstrous and fully welcome violation. Released via Future Noise Recordings, Tarnation churns the insides into a swamp of primal energy to match the malevolent sounds within the release. It is corruptive, destructive, and the instigator of animal pleasure and eagerness to take part in the fully impactful corruption. The band has destroyed audiences with their towering sound, sharing stages with the likes of Orange Goblin, Harvey Milk, Kylesa, Baroness, Today Is The Day, Black Sun, Lazarus Blackstar, Volition, Conan, The Sontaran Experiment, and Undersmile for the fullest respect and acclaim, the album simply shows the band is just as powerful in the studio, the sound driving the album a raw and living brutal entity.

Drug Monarch is the first blow to the ear, its lurching discord driven melodies and dehabilitating riffs a barbed introduction. The tight hypnotic groove which pervades throughout the Sepultura like grind is magnetic and fires the consuming intensity to deeper depths within. The corrosive start is then elevated to another venomous height by the brilliant A Punch In The Fucking Lungs, the track a ferocious undulating furnace of abrasive energy and numbing riffs. The rhythms vibrate through bone with the only respite coming in the brooding oppressive slower moments when the song is even more predatory, its heavy whispers intimidating and startling.

The guitars of Matt Richardson and Rob Beesley are scathing and scraping bestial elements throughout though their use of sonic razors and disruptive melodic trespass is just as impressive and sapping.  The likes of (Roasted In The Depths Of The) Sloar and the slowly crawling malevolence that is Repugnance find the guitarists scything through the senses with acidic precision within an avalanche of brute force energy, whether a rabidly paced or insidious lumbering envelopment their might and craft is merciless and erosive on thoughts and emotions.  Add the pit borne unsympathetic growls of Richardson alongside the crushing basslines of Claire Horrocks and restraining beats of Matt Aldred and the result is a tsunami of aural and impassioned lyrical hate, anger, and loathing.

From the more rampant early tracks the album switches after the apocalyptic emotion of the startling instrumental title track into a more expansive tar thick devouring prowl of doom and sludge sounds. The songs Bookatee Willalee and Locklear are overbearing and forceful masses to submerge within, their intent to drive away air and light with towering waves of intensity and sonic violation.

The album ends with the too brief but riotous strike of Snapmare, its bruising breath as punishing as its astringent splattering of wrung out melodic squeals, and the tension pushing What Are You Looking At Dicknose which takes its time to arrive fully in the ear but makes up for its tardy yet unsettling slow entrance with a tempest of nasty, pervading, and claustrophobic maliciousness. The closer is a seething body of poison to hungrily consume and be assaulted by, and to end what is a highly satisfying release. Arguably its earlier presence is better than its latter company but there is never anything less than compelling if violent sounds and thrilling invention to be eagerly accepted. At times Tarnation is a testing listen but one which is immensely rewarding and makes Bastard Of The Skies a band welcome anytime to crush, burn, and challenge the senses.

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RingMaster 29/09/2012

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