Saturday, 21 September 2013

Barabbas - Barabbas (2011) | 82%

Thanks to the band for the patch and the CD!

The Baguette Doom Series, pt. XI: Pontius Pilate

In my review for Northwinds' Masters of Magic (Check it out here!), I mentioned how it would be cool to have a complete doom album in French since almost no bands are doing this. The excellent Cauchemar is one of them and they're not even from France! Named after the infamous biblical character Barabbas, the band made the bold artistic decision to only have French lyrics! I decided to end my French doom series after 10 reviews, but Barabbas offered me the chance to explore their sound and I couldn't refuse that! 

The vocals of Saint-Rodolphe (they're all saints!) are nice and rough. They're not fruity nor cheesy. This is not a poetic and romantic band like you would expect when you learn they're French and this works for the whole scene too. They remind me of the Lemmy in their rawness and  of Daniel Puzio of Vulcain (which are basically the French Motorhead). Gritty and smelling like whisky and cigarettes, it's a good match for the greasy riffs of Saint-Stéphane. There's some weird and original leads like on “«Barabbas»”. It has a busy sound, It's a punch on your face and a cross on your back. There's some atmospheric keys here and there, underlining the sacrosanct feel of the album and giving it a subtle and researched sound. Furthermore, their conceptual lyrical approach is interesting. Rooted in biblical history, it's using the somber side of the religion to evoke dark atmospheres within their music. 

Musically, Barabbas plays a sort of heavy doom with clear stoner influences. It's as groovy as mid era Cathedral only this time it's from the other side of the Channel. The last track “Quatre chevaliers” (four knights) reminds me of the groovy, riff heavy side of an album like The Ethereal Mirror. The album only has six songs though for a length of a bit more than half an hour. There's two short tracks (0:50 and 2 minutes) so in the end, we only have four six to nine minutes tracks that are the bulk of the album. Considering this is their only release in more than six years of existence, it's a bit on the short side and I was still hungry (well, I'm still hungry but that's not the point!). I definitely want to hear more stuff from these guys but sadly the French scene is not really productive and not very supported. A damn shame!

From the catchy, groovy of opening track “Horizon Golgotha” to the slow, dirge of “Ressuscité”, it's all pretty good and there's nothing boring here. The bass is loud and the guitar is perfectly distorted enough to play cool riffs while not killing dogs with the fuzz. “Barabbas” is a good debut album from an underrated French band, well the whole scene is underrated, a thing you should be familiar with after my ten previous reviews! If I had to choose between Jesus and Barabbas, it's pretty clear that I would choose the latter. I would probably regret it since Jesus can change water into wine but yeah, I prefer beer anyway!

Barabbas on Facebook

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