Bast – Spectres

 

BAst pic

    If you have ever imagined being lost in a blizzard where every sound and danger, open and hidden, seduces and smothers the senses to their limits then try stepping into Spectres the debut album from UK sonic sculptors Bast. Every intensive note and emotion within the blackened doom bred tempest suffocates with merciless passion and intimidation yet infuses the imagination with a beauty and compelling toxicity which is just as mouth-wateringly impressive. The five track release is an epic confrontation which is not an easy companion to embrace and at times endure, as that envisaged storm, but certainly one of the most rewarding as it infests body and psyche.

    Formed in 2008, it was the coming together of vocalist/guitarist Craig Bryant, drummer Jon Lee, and bassist Gavin Thomas three years later where arguably things really began to stir up a greater attentive spotlight for Londoners Bast. Since starting initially as a duo, the band certainly made an imprint on the capitals metal scene, sharing stages with the likes of Ufomammut, A Storm of Light, and Ramesses. Across the years the trio has expanded their presence supporting and playing with other bands such as Nachtmystium, Minsk, Winterfylleth, earthtone9, Mother Corona, XII Boar and hordes more, persistently leaving a rich mark and breeding an eager anticipation for their first album.

     Recorded at Skyhammer Studio with Chris Fielding, Spectres is the first offering from new label Black Bow Records, run by 1452364_10152025214408684_29610896_nConan frontman Jon Davis, its limited to 300 vinyl release a joint unleashing with a CD/digital assault from Burning World Records. The album is a heavily consumptive provocation which swallows and chews the senses with a creative rabidity which simply intimidates under the massive weight of doom spawned atmospheres and malevolence. Just as ravenously though, the release leads the listener through inventive weaves which dazzle in elegance and seduce in majestic radiance though never truly released from the hands of rancorous oppressiveness.

    In The Beginning initially offers a respectful sonic coaxing to bring the album into view, its chilled ambience wrapping the ears before an exhaustive fire of riffs and rhythms consume the senses as the rasping caustic vocal squalls of Bryant scorches the air. As its stalks and piles on the dark drama with every second, the track winds around the imagination with a near insidious voice and corrosive intensity, stimulating thoughts with an enveloping and emotive suffering. It is a powerful opening matched by the next up Denizens, its slow flight into darker and deeper caverns of intensive emotional corruption as mesmeric as it is ruinous. Like the first, the black and doom metal seeded blend brews an erosive breath over a melodically teased sonic adventure, both soaked in a mutually cathartic and damaging tsunami of intensity.

      Impressive as the songs are, the album does not truly ignite into something uniquely distinctive and special until the title track erupts in a ferocious brawl of crippling rhythms and unrestrained riffing. The track hits with the carnivorous heavy assault of a Black Tusk, with heavily shadowed but tempting grooves to match, before diving head long into a blackened swamp of sonic rabidity and doom lit venom. It is an irresistible onslaught taken to greater potency by a deliciously barbed rhythmic temptation alongside a bass and guitar snarl which has you contemplating scurrying into the deepest burrows of safety. Spectres preys upon and swaggers with the imagination and passions, an unpredictable constantly evolving waltz of inventive toxins and destructive virulence with pestilential charms and animosity which echoes the overall presence of its namesake, the album.

     The exceptional confrontation is matched by the instrumental Psychonauts, the piece a developing imaginative scourge for the passions which from a seemingly primordial sonic soup spawns an irresistible and addictive union of contagion clad drumming and savage bass temptation. It proceeds to provide an exploratory and weighty flight through menacing expressive textures and atmospherically driven visually provoking scenery. It is another immense stimulus for mind and emotions to eagerly delve into, a demanding and controlling doorway to the band’s and our imaginations. Its twelve minute violation makes way for the equally enthralling and lengthy Outside The Circles Of Time, the closing song crafting a landscape of melodic temptation and magnetic beauty within a warm embracing ambience. The ever raw tones of Bryant, even in their more reined in delivery, add to the epidemic enticement, helping pave the way for the fiercer sonic wash of guitar and passion to lap over the senses beside another stretch of impossible to resist rhythmic bait, the song intensifying its pressure and contagion with every passing minute.

     It is a magnificent finale to an album which firmly puts Bast on the doom metal map. Spectres takes a little time to truly explode in the psyche, though it is certainly grips from its first breath, but emerges as an album destined to be one of the most impressive doom and 2014 debuts.

www.facebook.com/Bastmusic

9.5/10

Bast upcoming tour dates with Conan 2014

March 14th Nottingham, Soan Studios

March 15th Bournemouth, The Anvil

March 16th Birmingham, The Asylum 2

March 17th Glasgow, Audio

March 18th Aberdeen, Live at Downstairs

March 19th Manchester, Kraak Gallery

March 20th Cardiff, The Full Moon

March 21st Brighton, The a Prince Albert

March 22nd London at Electrowerkz

March 23rd Mousetrap, Basingstoke

RingMaster 23/02/2014

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Interview with Jon Rossi of Pilgrim

Bringing forth the essence of “true doom metal”, Rhode Island metalers Pilgrim are about to unleash a brute of an impressive album in the shape of Misery Wizard. A monster of a release it is an intense assault of black dirges, resonating ravenous riffs and blistering caustic melodies that feeds and excites the senses. We had the pleasure of asking Jon Rossi from Pilgrim about the band and Misery Wizard.

Hello and thank you for taking time to talk to The Ringmaster Review.

Hails, and you are very welcome.

Could you please first introduce the band and tell us how you all met and the band started.

We are PILGRIM, a doom metal band from Rhode Island, USA. We all met in high school and bonded over good art and music.

What was the inspiration to start the band and for your music as a whole?

We all loved doom metal and wanted to start a project of our own, something that expressed ourselves uniquely but also paid tribute to our favorite bands. PILGRIM was born fairly quickly.

Your sound is fuelled by and the band’s intent is to ‘resurrect’ true doom metal. Firstly how do you feel about modern doom metal then?

Don’t get us wrong, there are a lot of great ‘doom metal’ bands around now, but we feel like, ESPECIALLY here in the States, ‘doom metal’ has become a blanket term to describe everything from stoner metal to funeral metal. We feel like we have a very good idea of what real doom metal should be and what it sounds like. In that regard, we are very unhappy with the current state of doom.

So is this intention as much down to your unrest and disgust at the way the genre has gone as it is simply music that you enjoy and are inspired by?

Exactly! I couldn’t have said it better, thank you.

Are you finding a ready audience for true doom metal or most need reminding of and showing its might first?

It seems like Europeans really love it and understand it and people here in the US are a bit… taken aback? Perhaps they are frightened and insecure about the fact that I am not fucking screaming into the microphone. Or maybe their fragile ears can’t handle a note suspended for more than a few seconds. Most DEFINITELY need reminding. Forgive us for not conforming to an over-popular norm.

Are there any current doom metal bands you would spend time on listening to?

Sure. Good old Pentagram and Saint Vitus are still kicking, touring and releasing new records. We love Electric Wizard and Blood Ceremony. Ramesses are godly as well.

Has doom metal always been the direction you had as musicians even before the band?

Not quite. We always wanted to make heavy, powerful, dark music, but before we found doom metal we really had no direction. My guitar playing and song writing really took off after I discovered bands that I finally could to relate to.

You are Rhode Island based, is there a vibrant metal scene there or do you have to generally travel further afield for gigs etc?

Rhode Island is a joke, generally speaking. Don’t get me wrong, some amazing bands have come from Rhode Island, but currently it’s “music scene” (if you could call it that) is a bit… I can’t quite find the word. Perhaps “boring” is a good choice.

You are about to release your impressive debut album Misery Wizard, what are the emotions on the ‘eve’ of its release?

I can’t wait to hold a copy of the vinyl in my hands. It’s taken so very very long. We are just excited the process is over with and we can continue to look forward to our new projects.

How long has the album been in the making?

It is a collection of our earliest songs, so probably about two years, since the beginning of the band. We weren’t sure what exactly we’d be releasing for the first record, it sort of just fell together on its own.

Is there a particular track or moment on the album that gives you the deepest satisfaction?

Although it is the least “doomy” track on the record, I love the song Adventurer. It’s a fantastical auto-biography of the band and our adventures and creeds. It is just so powerful to me.

Can you give us some insight into the band’s writing process?

I get inspired by a particular idea and I try my best to make a riff that represents the feeling of that thought. It’s like painting with music. Then I bring it to practice and the guys help me make it into a song by giving it backbone. I enjoy the process. They give me feedback and constructive criticism. I value their opinions highly.

The songs within Misery Wizard are epic in length and stature, how much is predetermined and how much is it a songs natural evolution that gives them this grand imposing feel?

You are an observant listener! I always say, the songs aren’t REALLY that ‘long’, on paper they are quite short, it is just the speed and style that make them come out so lengthy. It’s an acquired taste. A lot of old secular music was like this. It didn’t feel long to them, we just think faster today.

Lyrically the songs are diverse, what are the things that inspire and trigger the lyrics?

I am inspired by a lot of fantasy, whether it’s games or movies or books. Some of the lyrics are introspective, but I prefer songs that paint beautifully epic pictures. Sword and sorcery is my favorite domain! I suppose some of it also comes from a love of the occult and magic ritual, but recently we’ve been moving away from this style because of its redundancy in doom metal today.

One imagines live your sound is even more powerful and overwhelming than on the album, how easy was it to get that intensity on the recording and still keep the clarity too?

It was easy! Making the music intense and full of emotion is something that PILGRIM is exceptionally good at. A lot of it has to do with Krolg’s drumming, he is excellent at building walls of feeling and then smashing them down. When we recorded the record, it only took us three days (the first day being mostly drums). We are (usually) very well rehearsed.

Could you tell us about the excellent artwork on the album?

It was done by a wonderful Englishmen named Paul McCarol. We wanted to a parody of a Renascence-style painting using elements and themes from the record. We worked really closely with Paul to come up with that image. A lot of people claim that we are attempting to rip off the Cathedral style artwork. This simply isn’t true. We can clearly see how someone would think this, but it’s pure coincidence. We don’t really listen to very much Cathedral.

Does 2012 have dates and tours ahead to help promote the album etc, and any chance Europe will see Pilgrim this year?

Europe will see PILGRIM this year, we will be playing the “Heavy Days in Doom Town” festival in Copenhagen, Denmark and also a prior show in Oslo, the details of which are a bit hazy as of now.  We will be hitting the road here in the states starting March 1st, hoping to wind up down in Dallas, TX to play the SxSW festival.

What are your plans beyond Misery Wizard?

To go to Japan. We fucking love Japan.

A great many thanks for talking with us, have you any last words or thoughts?

Only Reverend Bizarre is real. Fuck everyone.

And finally can you give recommendations to Doom Metal fans of whom other than Pilgrim they should check out to explore the true doom metal sound?

Reverend Bizarre, Saint Vitus, Pentagram, Revelation, Ramesses, Electric Wizard, The Wizar’d, Black Hole, Witchfinder General, EARLY Cathedral, EARLY Warning, and check out some newer bands Ice Dragon and Windhand.        

Misery Wizard is unleashed via Metal Blade Records on February 14th

Read the Misery Wizard review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/pilgrim-misery-wizard/

Ringmaster 10/02/2012

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