Barishi - Blood From the Lions Mouth 01Metal is undeniably a multifaceted wonder. It has many moods and it incorporates many styles from a wide range of genres and mediums. But how much is too much? Is it too late in the evolution of this dark and dangerous genre for us to return to the simple days of booze, drugs, and rock ’n roll? Have we dropped too far down the rabbit hole to salvage anything? Barishi’s debut album, was a record of uncontrollable wildness, spilling forth from its overloaded loins all sorts of wild and wonderful concoctions that would send fans of ‘traditional’ metal running for cover. It was certainly a progressive beast, and unfortunately it was too wild and full of passion to tame, control and direct into anything tangible and complete. The Vermont band’s second album, Blood From the Lion’s Mouth, and the focus of this review, is something else entirely. It’s still multifaceted; it still has many moods; it still incorporates many styles, however it’s a smooth and majestic Goliath of an album. The band have addressed issues from their previous release, changing things for the greater good. Blood From the Lion’s Mouth expands the glimpses of excellence from Barishi to fascinating levels.

Key to the success of this album is its cohesiveness. There’s not a transition or movement from one section to another that feels jarring, forced or shoehorned in. The myriad of riffs, and there are a juicy selection on offer throughout, build patiently and organically, and each song (stuffed to brimming point with them but never quite over spilling) is focused and condensed enough for tedium to never pop up its plain and undefined face. Each song manages to glide effortlessly from one moment to the next. “The Great Ennead,” for example, conveys the eccentricities of their debut release but this time forged at the hands of meticulous craftsmen rather than marauding wild men. It’s a spider’s web of tightly woven interconnections that interact and communicate as one, each link or strand can only stand as part of the whole. Each segue, from Intronaut inspired jazzy-sludge and early-Baroness styled melodic guitar-work into more Inter Arma-esque grandeur, is as smooth as a unicorn’s horn and twice as spirally.

Offsetting the expansive sludge sound at the spine of this record are veins of blackened-death and post-rock mixed with bursts of math-core chaos. In the title track, a melodic tremolo opening bursts though like the most glorious of sunsets. Following this, blackened growls and chain links of riff patterns subtly morph into sections laced with Converge and Botch inspired poison. Lead guitar melodies pirouette above brief chugs (these ‘-core’ elements are short-lived and not overused) and constantly expressive drumming as the song gallops towards its end. The fifth track, “Master Crossroads, Baron Ceremony,” is a cacophony of blackened (think Withered) and unorthodox death-metal. Circular and jarring riff patterns akin to Immolation and drumming that travels through the mix like a metronome of iron-spiked jackhammer punches to the gut bring welcome grit to the album.

Barishi - Blood From the Lions Mouth 02

Much of Blood From the Lion’s Mouth is standout, although the nine-minute “The Deep” is probably its crowning glory. Opening with riff patterns dripping with melody and submerged in rich groove, mixed with the faintest aroma of dissonance, the song moves through various forms and guises (sludge, post-rock, death) before a solo as sweet as the nectar of the gods (psychedelic, bluesy and full of spunk) drifts through to take center stage alongside a thick and heady bass-line. The riff is master here. The vocals throughout are uniform; although they don’t detract from the music they don’t really add much barring the odd moment of exasperated aggression. The decision to omit clean vocals this time around, a tool used on their previous album, is interesting. Their absence doesn’t reduce the eccentricity or diversity though. Instead, their omission shifts the focus to song structure and composition. Perhaps clean vocals would have added an extra dimension, an extra layer of detail and magic, or their inclusion could have served as a distracting buffer.

Blood From the Lion’s Mouth is a more condensed and claustrophobic album than its predecessor. It’s much more seething, with more of a bite and visceral edge. It retains, however, the peculiar progressive magic that shone briefly through Barishi‘s debut release. There are less spacious passages and more direct and unrelenting moments of riff-based violence here, but it’s the less in-your-face subtleties teeming beneath the surface, building and rising layer on layer, that are this album’s most exciting feature.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Season of Mist
Websites:  barishi.bandcamp.com/ | facebook.com/barishiband
Releases Worldwide: September 16th, 2016

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  • Grymm

    Damn, this is good. Excellent review, too!

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      Aye, loved their debut. Very excited for this album! Insane band photo; always impressed by a frontman dedicated just as much to performing on stage as he is in the studio.

      • Akerblogger

        I imagine they’re an exciting live band – the perfect mix of energy. technicality, heaviness and catchy-ness. It always helps that the lead vocalist is willing to break his neck, quite literally, for the satisfaction of a few die-hard crowd members in a small venue somewhere in rural Vermont!

    • Thatguy

      Agree, and agree.

      At last, relief from all that old man metal.

  • Wilhelm

    I am waiting for the impaled by unicorn photo…cmon people

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      I believe this to be acceptable.

      • Wowie.

      • Grymm

        That is gonna be a tough one to top, folks…

      • Monsterth Goatom

        I think we have the new AMG banner.

    • tomasjacobi

      I miss the days when the unicornification was only used as punishment for bands that didn’t publish band-pics…

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        Supply and demand, my friend. Supply and demand.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    It’s never too late to return to booze, drugs, and rock ’n roll. By the way, booze counts as a drug, you left sex out, what happened there?

    • Akerblogger

      Sex terrifies me! Even typing the word makes me nauseous…

      • The Unicorn

        …can’t tell if joking or serious.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          That is a Unicorn if I’ve ever seen one…

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    So…

    • Fuzzybunny

      No exorcisms, please!
      I quite like my demons. We’re used to each other after all these years.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Possessed must be one of your favorite bands…

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    The embedded track reminded me of Burst.

    • Thatguy

      Good point. And that is a damn flattering comparison.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        It was meant as flattering!

        • Thatguy

          Burst were a great band and this could be Burst-worthy.

  • The Unicorn

    Im flipping out!

  • AndySynn

    Ha, I literally posted in my review that I didn’t think it had quite the same edge (read: bite) as their debut or the EP.

    “The Deep” is definitely the best track though.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    That band picture is all sorts of awesome.

  • Kill The King

    I’ll be checking this out. Also I have a question for Mr. Druhm. Are you going to ever review the new Gojira?

  • herrschobel

    whenever i think Metal can´t get any better, another Band comes around to proof me wrong…this is perfect to my ears

  • GardensTale

    Wow, great review! Bit heavy on the name dropping in the middle (to my taste) but you have an expansive vocabulary and give really good descriptions. Not able to listen to this right now but I will as soon as I can.

  • Huck N’ Roll

    Nice work, Akerblogger! I suspect soon you might be off toilet duty. You liked this a bit more than I, the music is killer but the vocals quickly became tiresome. Good review. :)

  • Hutch Thirteen

    damn fine review.

  • junkyhead

    What a great sound.

  • SegaGenitals

    Album just dropped on Spotify. It’s swell.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Just curious, but the name is “Barishi” and they’re American metal? Doesn’t seem like a super American name…

  • beurbs

    A year later and I’m still uncovering little wonders in this album