Bast – Spectres

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Bast
Spectres
Burning World/Black Bow

The world is in a dark and monstrous place at the moment. The crises in the East are indicative of trouble ahead. A deep sense of foreboding and hostility has engulfed much of the Northern hemisphere and one can only hope that these people bang their heads together and diffuse the powderkeg that’s blatantly waiting to go off. I don’t wish to politicise this particular album, because it certainly isn’t that. But while listening to ‘Psychonauts’, the fourth track from Londoners Bast’s debut album ‘Spectres’, there was an undeniable tension as I listened to the track building, with the bass and the rumbling beat of the drums ratcheting up my senses as I read the sensationalised headlines in front of me. 

Pulling myself back out of such matters, ‘Spectres’ is proof of how UK doom is flourishing. Acts like Bong and Conan (to name two) are showing our country is just as good in unleashing all manner of long droning riffs, thunderously low grooves and sometimes tempos so slow a sloth could outrun them, than the prolific number of acts from the US and from Europe. Bast aren’t anywhere as droning as Bong or groovesome as Liverpudlians Conan (whose Jon Davis has put out ‘Spectres’ as his new label Black Bow Records’ debut release, alongside Dutch label Burning World). They instead focus on melding other genres, chiefly black metal, into their mix. The opening track ‘In The Beginning’ presents them in blackened territory as they speed along before hitting the brakes in the closing half of the song, closing it out with some chunky slow riffing, which they take into the next song, ‘Denizens’. This one creeps along with impressive cavernous trepidation before exploding into a phenomenal depressive black metal section and subsequently simmering back into apocalyptic doom again. The aforementioned ‘Psychonauts’ brilliantly plays out with Neurosis-style build-up before reaching a post-rock crescendo in dramatic circumstances, while the finishing track starts off with a bleak doom riff before finishing ten minutes later with wild riffing and solo worship. Put simply, Bast are the latest strong addition to the UK’s growing army of doom, with a sound more varied than most, and in ‘Spectres’, creating an album that surely deserves not to fall on deaf ears.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘Spectres’ via Burning World, or via Black Bow
Stream it below:

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Civil Protection – The Lines are Drawn EP

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Civil Protection
The Lines are Drawn EP

Primarily based in West Yorkshire, but with their roster spread across the United Kingdom, Civil Protection proclaim a wide range of influences that form the basis for their debut EP ‘The Lines are Drawn’, and on that count they don’t undersell themselves. Beginning with ‘Anticitizen’, a slightly straight up groove-rock stomper, the band spread their wings far more broadly during the remainder of this release, laying on heavy electronic and post-rock influence.

Civil Protection are certainly aiming for a big stage – this is a big sound after all; the title track really feels to be calling out to the horizon with a less percussive drive and a more expansive ambience, as vocalist/programmer Adam Fielding shows off his impressive vocal talents. The percussion is certainly minimalist to an extent, with only the occasional drive to push the song onwards like a ship carefully navigating an ocean storm. The closing ‘A Quiet Night’ offers more of the same, although with more backbeat, pushing the emotional, atmospheric band to the front again.

Though I wasn’t initially taken with the release, it is certainly a bit of a grower, and fans of Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Mogwai, etc. will all find something to like about this, and the band certainly are capable of being able to make a step up to the bigger stage with future releases on this evidence, with plenty of room for their sound to develop even further. This is available as a free download if you wish, but for the sum of £1 you can have an additional bonus track, an acoustic version of ‘A Quiet Night’.

Peter Clegg

Buy/Download ‘The Lines are Drawn’ here (name-your-price)
Stream it below:

Official site
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