Albums That Will #$@&%*! Your Face Off in 2014: Barghest, The Virtuous Purge
Despite the band’s origins in 2006, I only became aware of Baton Rouge’s Barghest with the release of their eponymous full-length in 2011. Touted as a Thou side project of sorts, the band was quick to dispel any preconceived notions of what such a thing might sound like. Whereas Thou’s feedback-scourged doom compositions reek of the bayous and pent-up frustration that characterize their stifling capital city, Barghest’s spiritual predecessors lie far, far north. They’d make more sense onstage with Dissection than with EyeHateGod (though a Jon Nödtveidt hologram probably wouldn’t be much fun). Their previous output allied itself with the most savage of black metal’s Second Wave whilst proving themselves unafraid to tinker with dynamics, studding a song with a blast of death metal shrapnel here or shuddering doom passage there. Shot through with melancholia and ragged desperation, Barghest sounded far more serious than many of their more melodically-inclined USBM peers. There was – is- a wildness to them. Gun-toting promo photos add a little Dixie flair, but they keep those Louisiana roots buried deep beneath charred ash and bone. They haven’t got the blues, but they do have some demonic rhythms.
The Virtuous Purge promises to venture down a similar path, though here, death triumphs over black. Barghest got to stretch their legs a little while back with a now unavailable “He Who Sleeps” cover, and that death metal dalliance has bled through all over their nice black metal riffs (felt more in the vocals, though; that roar’s got some guts to it).
For the impatient, a demo version of “Agonizing Spiritual Descent” is streaming below; though obviously rougher-edged than its final form, the song offers a solid glimpse into the band’s current direction.
Gilead Media will release The Virtuous Purge in summer 2014; the label couldn’t give a more specific date yet, but are hoping to get it out there before the end of July. A new Thou record, Heathen, is also in the cards for 2/25/14, and on top of that, Gilead Fest has just announced its full lineup. The first edition of said festival is where I first got to see Barghest live (as well as the truly excellent False, with whom they shared a 2012 split) and this year’s lineup is even more bonkers; read it, weep, then hop on Skyscanner and get that shit booked, bruv.
I’m also stupidly excited for new releases from Teitanblood, Diocletian (here’s a sample), Dead Congregation, Thantifaxath, Death Worship, The Atlas Moth, Svartidaudi, and above all, Necros Christos, who have announced the imminent release Nine Graves, a nine-track EP that will precede the band’s third and apparent final album… but all that’s another story.