Barathrum - Hailstorm CD
Formed by Demonos Sova in 1990, Barathrum has long established itself as a pillar of the second wave of black metal and a progenitor of the Finnish sound, along with their peers Beherit and Impaled Nazarene. Between 1991 and 1995, Barathrum released a succession of demos, all of which were good, but clearly showed a band still in the process of self-discovery. It was with the 1995 debut full-length, “Hailstorm”—released on the legendary Nazgul’s Eyrie label—that Barathrum carved out a truly unique space. On “Hailstorm,” Sova dispensed with the usual guitar-driven composition, and instead used a dual bass performance to channel a gloomier subterranean sound. The immense weight and inertia of the distorted basslines, at once percussive and melodic, carry the mid-paced riffs, elongated and stretched to their limits. The songs are repetitious and hypnotic; the performance is brooding and severe. The production is equally esoteric, defying all convention. The use of six-string guitars is minimal and mixed low, offering little more than texture, capsized in the icy depths of the low-end instrumentation. Sova’s snarling, reverb-laden vocal rasps cut through the dense low-end body of the music, summoning and praising the jetblack darkness and all that which is vile and profane. By pushing the bass to the forefront, “Hailstorm” invites comparisons to Necromantia, but its spacious immensity and authoritative plodding power places it in a category unto itself, like a black metal rendering of Swans’ “Filth” album. The sigil adorning the cover of the album, the Seal of the Abyss, is the sign of Barathrum and appears on all subsequent releases. It is the symbolic representation of the band, the yawning darkness of the infinite chasm.