There’s a little bit of a buzz around “Spectres”, the debut album from London-based black/death/doom metal unit Bast. The band have been in existence since 2008 and have built up something of a following on the underground with some well-received support slots with the likes of Ramesses, and “Spectres” is the first album to be released via Conan frontman Jon Davis‘ Black Bow Records label, so it looks like the stars are in alignment for them right now.
And when the thunderous rumblings of opening track ‘In the Beginning’ threaten to rattle your teeth loose with its insistent mix of black metal blasting and doomy atmosphere it’s quite clear that Bast have refined their attack over the years to making sure that each hit of the snare drum and every run up and down the fretboard is utilised to maximum effect. Producer Chris Fielding (Conan/Dyscarnate) keeps the metallic bomblast at a high level without letting the instruments overpower each other and become lost in the mix, something which greatly benefits the rollicking title track as it races along under a barrage of kick drums and cymbals but with a huge doom riff snaking its way in and out of the percussion, bringing to mind High on Fire at their most potent, only with vocalist/guitarist Craig Bryant’s guttural death growls taking the track beyond doom and into brutal death metal territory.
At just over 45 minutes long and with only five tracks, “Spectres” is certainly what you would call a huge album and one worth exploring as each new listen will throw up something you didn’t get the last time round. The final two tracks alone make up a running time of over 22 minutes, but the ambient guitar intro to ‘Outside the Circles of Time’ is so irresistible that it is worth stopping whatever you’re doing and letting it wash over you as the song gives way to some brutal riffing as it builds to a huge climax. To sum up, “Spectres” is an impressive and well-crafted album that sounds immense but may take some patience and dedication to fully appreciate, and while there may be more immediate death/doom albums out there, for a debut this points the way towards a very bright future for Bast.