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Rating:
8.5
Bast - Spectres
24 February 2014


01. In The Beginning
02. Denizens
03. Spectres
04. Psychonauts
05. Outside The Circles Of Time


Blackened doom has always been my favorite fusion of any two metal subgenres. Why, you ask? It's quite simple really: combine the two subgenres that are typically the most gloomy and melancholic in the entire metal spectrum, and you're in for one hell of a result. This year, the Englishmen of Bast are hitting the scene full force with Spectres, and they're ready to show us how it's done.

With Spectres, Bast make it clear that they're skilled in the art of sonic sculpting, artists with good attention to aural satisfaction and pleasing the senses. There are some moments that are indeed quite black metal-ish, like on opener "In The Beginning," and contain your more or less average tremolo picking, shrieks, and blast beats, that further transition into some heavier, more monotonous moments to complete the BM/doom union. So, at first glance, it comes across as pretty generic for its style: not bad, per se, just nothing new.

But this first track is a mask of sorts, that covers up and somewhat deceives as to the real meat of the album and the excellent songwriting dwelling within it. For Bast are by no means here to just barrage your eardrums with BM riffs and pulsating doom. Much like Dolorian and The Ruins Of Beverast, these guys are actually one of the better blackened doom bands, who thankfully give just as much attention to creating a soul sucking vortex of sorrowful melody as they do to cranking out hard-hitting bangers. "Outside The Circles Of Time," the amazing instrumental "Psychonauts," and plenty of moments on the other tracks display a sophisticated knowledge of atmosphere, and how to construct it around the heavier elements to help everything peak at just the right moment. All the trails Bast create, so to speak, seem to ultimately build to some sort of climax, instead of just leading nowhere, and the ending of the album is not at all disappointing.

With Spectres, Bast inject some fresh, new blood into the blackened doom style, creating an album that strikes a very commendable balance between the two, without really seeming to move too far in either direction. Many blackened doom bands tend to either sit in an extreme doom position, or a slow, heavy black metal style, opting for more of one over the other. Not so with Bast. They've found their happy medium between the two, and oh boy, is it tasty. Serious contender for debut AOTY.

Ready to meet some specters?

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Bast
Album: Spectres


 



Written on 26.03.2014 by
Apothecary
"Show me a sane man, and I will cure him for you"
-Carl Jung
More reviews by Apothecary ››



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Zaphod - 26.03.2014 at 23:55  
Been meaning to give this some more spins, your review definitely encourages me
Apothecary - 26.03.2014 at 23:58  
Written by Zaphod on 26.03.2014 at 23:55

Been meaning to give this some more spins

I'd definitely recommend that, it's a grower for sure
Zaphod - 27.03.2014 at 00:02  
Written by Apothecary on 26.03.2014 at 23:58

I'd definitely recommend that, it's a grower for sure

Then I'll get back to you after I've spun it seven hundred times
Apothecary - 27.03.2014 at 00:14  
Written by Zaphod on 27.03.2014 at 00:02

Then I'll get back to you after I've spun it seven hundred times

1,000 or GTFO
psykometal - 27.03.2014 at 03:17  
Will check this out as soon as I get back to Houston.

FYI, I think you made a boo boo...
"But this first is track a mask of sorts"
Apothecary - 27.03.2014 at 03:57  
Written by psykometal on 27.03.2014 at 03:17

FYI, I think you made a boo boo...
"But this first is track a mask of sorts"

Tried to correct it a few hours ago and I just tried again now, it won't let me D:
When I edit it and then click Publish, browser just says "Waiting For Metalstorm.net," the little circle just whirls around the mouse thing for a sec, and nothing happens. I don't know if it's the server or what, but it's always worked before when I need to change something. Perhaps you could try with your immortal powers, Great Old One?
psykometal - 27.03.2014 at 09:07  
Written by Apothecary on 27.03.2014 at 03:57

Tried to correct it a few hours ago and I just tried again now, it won't let me D:
When I edit it and then click Publish, browser just says "Waiting For Metalstorm.net," the little circle just whirls around the mouse thing for a sec, and nothing happens. I don't know if it's the server or what, but it's always worked before when I need to change something. Perhaps you could try with your immortal powers, Great Old One?

Woh now, I ain't that old.

Said it sent it back to you for approval. Did it?
Apothecary - 27.03.2014 at 14:58  
Written by psykometal on 27.03.2014 at 09:07

Said it sent it back to you for approval. Did it?

Yep, and it worked out, thanks. And it was a term of respect, sir, don't you want to be considered among the ranks of Cthulhu Fhtagn?
psykometal - 27.03.2014 at 15:20  
Written by Apothecary on 27.03.2014 at 14:58

Yep, and it worked out, thanks. And it was a term of respect, sir, don't you want to be considered among the ranks of Cthulhu Fhtagn?

Bitchin'. Glad I could help.

and I've never really read up on Chthulu, so I did not realize. Guess I should rectify that.
Apothecary - 27.03.2014 at 15:29  
Written by psykometal on 27.03.2014 at 15:20

I've never really read up on Chthulu, so I did not realize. Guess I should rectify that.

You can start by listening to this.
Off topic, I know, but what threads on here aren't?
psykometal - 27.03.2014 at 17:10  
Written by Apothecary on 27.03.2014 at 15:29

Off topic, I know, but what threads on here aren't?

Could always create a thread for discussing Chthulu.
Apothecary - 27.03.2014 at 17:21  
Written by psykometal on 27.03.2014 at 17:10

Written by Apothecary on 27.03.2014 at 15:29

Off topic, I know, but what threads on here aren't?

Could always create a thread for discussing Chthulu.

I'm POSITIVE that's been done before
psykometal - 27.03.2014 at 17:38  
Written by Apothecary on 27.03.2014 at 17:21

I'm POSITIVE that's been done before

Not that came up when I did a search for "chthulu" before I posted the suggestion.
Migtanteot - 28.03.2014 at 00:26  
I´ve never heard music from this band but this review make me want to. I love doom metal but the black/doom I´ve heard realy bored me. I´ll listen and tell you.

I don´t get why the Arab letters but doesn´t matter.
Apothecary - 28.03.2014 at 01:00  
Written by Migtanteot on 28.03.2014 at 00:26

I´ve never heard music from this band but this review make me want to. I love doom metal but the black/doom I´ve heard realy bored me. I´ll listen and tell you.

I don´t get why the Arab letters but doesn´t matter.

The letters spell out "Spectres," but they're just in a font highly reminiscent of Arabic. That kinda has me curious as well, with the band being from the UK, but who knows what it could mean? As far as the black doom thing is concerned, like I kinda said in the review, you have to know where to look for the good stuff. It's a really hit or miss style: the not so good bands are pretty shitty, and the good ones are fucking superb, so there's really no in between. If you're just getting into it, I'd definitely suggest Dolorian, The Ruins Of Beverast, and *Mörkö.

*Fixed by a being with a smartphone that can do special characters.
Migtanteot - 28.03.2014 at 19:32  
Written by Apothecary on 28.03.2014 at 01:00

Written by Migtanteot on 28.03.2014 at 00:26

I´ve never heard music from this band but this review make me want to. I love doom metal but the black/doom I´ve heard realy bored me. I´ll listen and tell you.

I don´t get why the Arab letters but doesn´t matter.

If you're just getting into it, I'd definitely suggest Dolorian, The Ruins Of Beverast, and *Mörkö.


Copied. I appreciate your suggestion.
Verdun_sc - 28.03.2014 at 20:11  
Written by Apothecary on 28.03.2014 at 01:00

Written by Migtanteot on 28.03.2014 at 00:26

I´ve never heard music from this band but this review make me want to. I love doom metal but the black/doom I´ve heard realy bored me. I´ll listen and tell you.

I don´t get why the Arab letters but doesn´t matter.

The letters spell out "Spectres," but they're just in a font highly reminiscent of Arabic. That kinda has me curious as well, with the band being from the UK, but who knows what it could mean? As far as the black doom thing is concerned, like I kinda said in the review, you have to know where to look for the good stuff. It's a really hit or miss style: the not so good bands are pretty shitty, and the good ones are fucking superb, so there's really no in between. If you're just getting into it, I'd definitely suggest Dolorian, The Ruins Of Beverast, and *Mörkö.

*Fixed by a being with a smartphone that can do special characters.

This is spot on, especially Dolorian, they're excellent. I'd add Velnias, Essenz, Stoic Dissention, and Ordo Obsidium to the list of good black/doom.
Apothecary - 28.03.2014 at 20:39  
Written by Verdun_sc on 28.03.2014 at 20:11

This is spot on, especially Dolorian, they're excellent. I'd add Velnias, Essenz, Stoic Dissention, and Ordo Obsidium to the list of good black/doom.

Heard of Velnias and Stoic Dissention, will scope the other two though
Erik M. - 29.03.2014 at 00:14  
Written by Migtanteot on 28.03.2014 at 00:26

I love doom metal but the black/doom I´ve heard realy bored me.


Like others have said: Dolorian. And in particular their debut, because Voidwards isn't really blackened doom, but rather atmospheric doom with not much, if any, black metal in it. The debut is fantastic without a doubt. People will attack me for this (because apparently I'm the only one who hears doom in BJ's sound), but I'd also recommend Brown Jenkins - Death Obsession (Lovecraft again ): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsZofqAAusw (it's monotone and has little variety, yet I think it's totally awesome music... just listen to it and decide for yourself).

Che, you have recommended this album to me before and I've listened to it twice so far. It's pretty good, but 7/10 material for me. I really hope you're right when you said "it's a grower" because otherwise I can't say I'm impressed.
Apothecary - 30.03.2014 at 18:40  
Written by Erik M. on 29.03.2014 at 00:14

Che, you have recommended this album to me before and I've listened to it twice so far. It's pretty good, but 7/10 material for me. I really hope you're right when you said "it's a grower" because otherwise I can't say I'm impressed.

I have?
Honestly the only doom I remember suggesting to you this year was Altar Of Betelgeuze. Anyway, yeah, this is a really good album to listen to in full, and (at least for me) when you do, you start seeing more and more how it all comes together. Reminds me a lot of recent Enslaved. Not in a musical sense, but in the sense that you discover more of a "flow" each time you listen to it, if that makes sense. I know you like atmospheric music, and it's definitely atmospheric, but in a different style than what I think you typically prefer, so it may or may not go beyond that 7 for you.
!J.O.O.E.! - 30.03.2014 at 18:52  
Just remembered I met one of the members of this band whilst standing in the queue for the Mgla / Svartidaudi / Grave Miasma gig. Of course we were all waiting for an hour+ to get in so no surprise people would get to know each other. Only had a brief listen of this before I actually met him, sounded good but never followed it up.
Apothecary - 30.03.2014 at 19:31  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 30.03.2014 at 18:52

Just remembered I met one of the members of this band whilst standing in the queue for the Mgla / Svartidaudi / Grave Miasma gig. Of course we were all waiting for an hour+ to get in so no surprise people would get to know each other. Only had a brief listen of this before I actually met him, sounded good but never followed it up.

That's awesome dude, and you should definitely get on it again!

+1 for Mgla, by the way.
Erik M. - 30.03.2014 at 20:03  
Written by Apothecary on 30.03.2014 at 18:40

I have?
Honestly the only doom I remember suggesting to you this year was Altar Of Betelgeuze. Anyway, yeah, this is a really good album to listen to in full, and (at least for me) when you do, you start seeing more and more how it all comes together. Reminds me a lot of recent Enslaved. Not in a musical sense, but in the sense that you discover more of a "flow" each time you listen to it, if that makes sense. I know you like atmospheric music, and it's definitely atmospheric, but in a different style than what I think you typically prefer, so it may or may not go beyond that 7 for you.


Or maybe I just saw your review and somehow thought you recommended it to me. And yeah, you did recommend Altar of Betelgeuze, which I really liked. We had that discussion with Marcel about whether their sound has stoner in it or not, haha. Anyway, I'll give both of 'em at least one listen again.
Apothecary - 30.03.2014 at 20:08  
Written by Erik M. on 30.03.2014 at 20:03

Maybe I just saw your review and somehow thought you recommended it to me. And yeah, you did recommend Altar of Betelgeuze, which I really liked. We had that discussion with Marcel about whether their sound has stoner in it or not, haha. Anyway, I'll give both of 'em at least one listen again.

Only a fool would say they don't have stoner in their sound, but then again, Marcel drinks a lot, soooo....
Erik M. - 30.03.2014 at 20:17  
Written by Apothecary on 30.03.2014 at 20:08

Only a fool would say they don't have stoner in their sound, but then again, Marcel drinks a lot, soooo....


I recently checked out that new Conan album, which is pretty good. Now there the stoner elements are very obvious, unlike in Altar of Betelgeuze's case. As you know I'm not very familiar with stoner metal in general and you are, so you're probably right. Then again, Marcel is also familiar with it, but as you just said, he does drink a lot.
Apothecary - 30.03.2014 at 20:26  
Written by Erik M. on 30.03.2014 at 20:17

I recently checked out that new Conan album, which is pretty good. Now there the stoner elements are very obvious, unlike in Altar of Betelgeuze's case.

Conan are actually more doom than stoner, I would say. The stoner elements are kinda there in the vocals and some of the grooves, just pretty subtle.
Erik M. - 30.03.2014 at 20:29  
Written by Apothecary on 30.03.2014 at 20:26

Conan are actually more doom than stoner, I would say. The stoner elements are kinda there in the vocals and some of the grooves, just pretty subtle.


They might be more doom than stoner but the stoner in their sound was really obvious to me, unlike in case of Altar of Betelgeuze.
Migtanteot - 04.04.2014 at 00:51  
Returining to Bast, I already heard this album. It is awesome in almost all the songs and I would say it's a good reference to blackened doom, more than The ruin of Beverast I think.
The production on this album helped a lot to make the best way to enjoy it. some black/doom bands doesn´t really pay so much attention to production, to sound rawer maybe, but this album was quite well produced so it please you when hear their performance.

"Denizen" sounds a little sludge? or is just for me.
"Outside the Circles of Time" is the best song and the best close.
Good album! looking forward to this band.
Apothecary - 04.04.2014 at 01:25  
Written by Migtanteot on 04.04.2014 at 00:51

I would say it's a good reference to blackened doom, more than The ruin of Beverast I think.

Nope, sorry
This is a great album, absolutely, but I definitely think ROB and Elysian Blaze (both one man projects, so that in itself says something) are probably the two best representations of the potential that can lie in the black/doom fusion at the moment. There's no competing with this. Or this.
J. N. - 19.04.2014 at 12:21  
Written by Migtanteot on 28.03.2014 at 00:26
I don´t get why the Arab letters but doesn´t matter.

Written by Apothecary on 28.03.2014 at 01:00
The letters spell out "Spectres," but they're just in a font highly reminiscent of Arabic. That kinda has me curious as well, with the band being from the UK, but who knows what it could mean?

According to a friend of mine, Craig Bryant were in the Middle East in before/during the writing of the album and he really likes the Middle Eastern art and culture. That's why the letters!

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