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Barbarian Swords : Worms

More Black than Doom, the last full-length from Spain's Barbarian Swords is nonetheless very well done.

I knew nothing of Barbarian Swords prior to receiving this album so my first introduction to the Catalonians was their song titles. My immediate assessment was that it would not be a Doom release at all because although itís not impossible to have such lyrical approaches in Doom Metal, suffice to say that it seldom happens. Sure enough, upon playing the disc, I discovered that Barbarian Swords does indeed play Black Metal. Pure, unadulterated, filthy Black Metal!

Happily, Iím a big Black Metal fan too so Iíve no problem reviewing this album whatsoever. My favourite type of Black Metal is the rawer releases that tend to be very prolific in Eastern European countries because there was this edge they always seemed to have that I really enjoyed. Black Metal from Western Europe could be good too, of course, but I never had much luck in finding it other than in France. With that in mind, plus the trademark song titles straight from page one of the "So You Want To Release A Black Metal Album?" book, I didnít have high hopes for Barbarian Swords.

The above is why I still listen to new music, though, because Barbarian Swords certainly proved me and my stereotypes wrong here! For a Black Metal band, this is surprisingly well-produced music. The harsh vocals are excellent, even vaguely reminiscent of Alan Dublinís powerful pronunciation for Khanate at times. This isnít your average raw Black Metal burst, though - thereís a lot of good guitar-work too, not to mention some good solos. Personally, I donít find Raw Black Metal boring but a number of people do. Even non-fans of Black Metal would have to agree that 'Worms' is far from a boring release, though.

Now, I canít honestly state that there can be much in the way of Ďnewí approaches in Black Metal nowadays because...well, how can there be? Itís all been done before, just like in Doom Metal. For me, Barbarian Swords picked a great role model for their own Black Metal foray, though - Bathory. It goes without saying that their production is a lot better than Quorthonís early work but it doesnít detract from the wholly evil nature of their music, enough so for me to even let some of their crimes against English grammar slide, which is saying a lot for somebody like me!

'Worms' is a very intense listening experience. Pleasingly, the lyrical approach, the music, and the vocals are all harmoniously synchronised on this album; thereís really no room for confusion with regard to what this band is all about. Itís very much raw Black Metal too - not symphonic/keys-driven at all. The only confusing element with this band is that some people (maybe even the band themselves?) have described this band as Doom Metal in any capacity, which it blatantly isnít. I wonít deny that the odd track has a Doomy segment (e.g. 'Total Nihilism') but this is a 100% Black Metal release. That said, the atmosphere on 'Worms' is so good that I do think some Doom Metal fans would appreciate the music here. I know I did!

I only have one question regarding this album - what the hell is the guy in the middle holding in the group shot on the inlay? It looks like a club of some kind, which isnít the most Black Metal of weapons. Surely it should be a machete, sword, scythe, or even gun of some kind? Not very good, Barbarian Swords - you lose kvlt/gr1m points there despite doing really well with the angry lyrics, almost illegible font etc.!

In all seriousness, this is a really good album. If youíre expecting Doom Metal, itís not for you. If you want some genuinely good, relatively modern Black Metal then this is for you. I wonít deny that the somewhat forced attempts at conveying utter insanity (e.g. during 'Requiem') can be a touch irritating because of the excessive screams but this is still one of the better Black Metal albums Iíve heard released over the past few years, thatís for sure, so I would recommend it to fans of that genre.

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Reviewer's rating: 8.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Iím Your Demise
2. Outcast Warlords
3. Pure Demonology
4. Christian Worms
5. Total Nihilism
6. The Last Virgin On The Earth, Sodomized
7. Carnivorous Pussy
8. Requiem
9. Ultrasado Bloodbath

Duration : Approx. 71 minutes

Visit the Barbarian Swords bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-06-08 by Ian Morrissey
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