Scotland’s Barshasketh have been slowly but surely making a name for themselves on their home ground, with 2013s Sitra Achra gaining them attention and plaudits alike for a record that spoke with a maturity and grasp of the genre, while allowing the young band to evolve and seek new movement. An excellent split with Ireland’s KRAWWL followed, and more new music has come to the fore, with a split release with America’s one-man project, Void Ritual.
Barshasketh’s sound has been constantly evolving since their inception in 2009, and as the band has become a group rather then the sole effort of vocalist Krigeist, the Scots have consistently upped their creativity and execution of their craft. “Palingenesis” and “Dominion of Ashes” both drive forward on huge waves of guitar and drums, while Krigeist hones his screams and rasps around the landscapes of sound poured forth, adding to the atmosphere rather than taking away from it.
Void Ritual’s side of the cassette stays with the fast-paced aesthetic, yet Daniel Jackson’s approach seems a little doomier than Barshasketh’s, with slower elements and discordant segues infiltrating the musical landscapes of “Heaven’s Gate” and a voice that’s much lower in register and tone.
Both, however, do much to push black metal forward into a more modern sounding sphere while staying as true as possible to its roots. There are moments of stunning beauty across both sides, and passages that contain disturbing terror, and the melding of these two contrasting approaches serves to speak to the psyche in that everyone has these two opposing forces within them.
Black metal can be a boring, rote, and uninteresting genre at times, but bands like Barshasketh and Void Ritual are heeding the call for contemporary sounds that allow expansion and evolution.