Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Barrow Wight - Power from the East (2014) / 74%

Look into the Palantir!

This trio from the Canadian capital of Ottawa plays a very old school sort of metal and they do it quite well. Led by a cool dude from Manitoba called Andrew, Antero, Aragorn or something, they're inspired by all the right things. Their music fits the 80s revival that we're living nowadays but it's not as cheesy as other Canadian stuff such as Cauldron. It's sure is sloppy but I like my cheeseburgers with a lot of melted cheese so I'm totally fine with that sort of metal.

I remember getting their latest demo at a Natur gig in Montréal (live review here!), it was enjoyable but pretty fucking raw so I decided to wait a bit to cover them. Now with their first EP (now released by both Heavy Chains and Dying Victims after an indie tape release) is still raw on the edges but the production is pretty much perfect for their brand of ultra traditional heavy metal mixed with the oldest black metal influences you can find. Think of Venom at its dirtiest, old funny Anvil and Bathory at its formative stage and you're on the right track. Instead of the evil approach of Cronos, Barrow Wight (formidable name) explores the Lord of the Rings lore and even if it's perhaps an overdone subject, it's always a very cool one.

It's gritty but quite melodic too, songs like “Rock into Mordor” (haha!) has a nice sing-along chorus and sweet, simple guitar playing. The band just fucking rocks the Middle-Earth with groovy riffs, semi harsh vocals with a very greasy bacon vibe, it's not quite excellent but it does the job. Nothing is tight because nothing needs to be, it's a crusade against modernity and the saccharine elements it brought to the genre. Fuck modern Septicflesh and its sterilized approach, this is fun, raw and metal as hell.

The five songs, twelve minutes extended play is short and it's easy to just press the repeat button, it starts with this noisy evil intro and extends to this nasty “Anvil of Mordor” affair. The songwriting remains simple, perhaps not yet well refined yet but their goal is clear and quite achieved for a first professional release. Don't expect to be blown away by anything here but it's entertaining and you'll spend a good time with the Wight. The drums are nice, the bass is loud but could be pushed to higher grounds and there's a certain will to push the boundaries of their agenda further in their sound and I'm sure it will be explored.

Garnished by a cool drawing from Ian Miller, an authority in fantasy art (Lord of the Rings, Dungeons and Dragons...), Barrow Wight doesn't mess around and release a promising, catchy and metal to the bones EP. Not the most original thing around but check if they care, that's not the point and it shouldn't be enforced!


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