BAEST

Necro Sapiens

Written by: AP on 11/08/2021 13:17:14

I like to think of myself as a pretty demanding connoisseur of music, one who is easily disappointed by bands that lack the ambition or craftsmanship to stand out from the masses. I want artists to push the envelope and deliver records that keep me on my toes throughout... which makes it quite strange that I should be so fond of BAEST, who have been storming toward underground stardom ever since their début album “Danse Macabre” dropped in 2018. It is hard for death metal to sound more traditional than the material forged by this Århusian quintet — it plays like an unabashed love letter to the genre’s Stockholm and Florida scenes — yet it seems to speak to some kind of primal instinct that all metalheads probably have, for headbanging to a stalwart groove and throwing ourselves into the moshpit against all reason when the going gets particularly fast or heavy. Put simply, BAEST excels at bringing this primate to the fore, and while it would not harm their reputation to spice things up a notch every now and then, this third and latest offering of theirs, “Necro Sapiens”, is not about to start disrupting their signature style.

Like its predecessors, the album is loaded to the brim with crunchy grooves, searing riffs and brutal intensity, all distilled into songs so tightly woven they would turn even the most zealous opponent of death metal into a convert. The record sounds familiar from the get-go, and while it seems to betray a philosophy of “well, if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”, it is also easy to tell that the band members have worked tirelessly — not only to create an album devoid of filler, but also to hone their skills of musicianship and deliver their most accomplished individual performances yet. To say that the quintet can now hold their own even against their greatest idols, many of whom are legends and veterans of extreme metal, would not be an overstatement. And yet even as equals, BAEST never shy away from the opportunity to tip their hats at their muses. The clatter of a steel mill heard in the brief intro piece “The Forge”, for instance, has an eerie resemblance to the beginning of “Blinded by Fear” from At the Gates’ revered 1995 album “Slaughter of the Soul”, while later on, the hollow thumps of tom-tom that echo through the first few seconds of “Goregasm” surely pay tribute to Slayer’s 1986 classic “Raining Blood”. Then there’s the titular “Necro Sapiens”, which might as well be accompanied by clips of the band members each sewing treasured old Morbid Angel patches into their battle vests.

But there is a lot more to BAEST’s music than acknowledging their sources of inspiration; the group has a unique penchant for moulding them into a sound that is unequivocally theirs. Anyone who has had the chance to see BAEST live will be able to attest to their gripping, unhinged energy on stage — and it is that same energy that resonates from their music on record as well. Their music goes hard as hell, locking the listener into a chokehold as soon as guitarists Lasse Revsbech and Svend Karlsson unleash their tide of eerie, harmonised melody in the beginning of “Genesis”, and does not loosen its grip until a savage breakdown forces the record to a blunt conclusion in “Sea of Vomit”. Everything in between these opening and closing tracks bristles with quality, and while it would be a stretch to claim that any of it revolutionises death metal, there are lots of intriguing elements embedded in it. Whether it is via the shifting dynamics amidst the brutal onslaughts of songs such as “Czar” and “Abattoir”, the more progressive approach to songwriting heard in the likes of “Genesis” and “Goregasm” that dabble in the esoteric dissonance of artists like Svart Crown and Ulcerate, or the classic death metal stylings of “Abattoir” and “Meathook Massacre”, BAEST establish themselves as a kind of pan-death metal band that adores every variant of the genre equally.

It is thus difficult to imagine any fan of the death metal genre disliking “Necro Sapiens”, and unless one digs into the past, it is also difficult to find a much better example of the genre. The album is frighteningly consistent in its adherence to a high standard throughout, the hallmark of a band that never compromise on playing their heart out whether in the live setting or in the studio — and as already mentioned earlier in this review, it is impossible to resist that kind of energy. BAEST is not breaking much new ground with “Necro Sapiens”, but their knack for once again providing the pace, the intensity and the savagery to get even the stiffest of necks going ensures there is no sign of their soar toward the stars stopping anytime soon.

8

Download: Genesis, Necro Sapiens, Abattoir, Goregasm, Meathook Massacre
For the fans of: Bloodbath, Dismember, Grave, Morbid Angel
Listen: Facebook

Release date 05.03.2021
Century Media

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