Dredged from the hazy swamps of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Barghest writhe with a deep hatred and here showcase their sullen misanthropic black metal leanings on a split with Minneapolis based False. Whilst both bands are at the pinnacle of the current wave of furious US black metal, they both approach their work in entirely different ways. Barghest favour a quicker pace despite their tracks here clocking in around eight minutes, the tempo is often lightning fast and breathtaking. False however, delight in letting the horror swirl and ebb over a long and drawn out eighteen minute period, the depth forming in a slightly more solid structure and screams of wrath against God.
Barghest offer two tracks here, one – “Shifting Sands” – which was written at the beginning of the bands career and finally sees the cold light of day on vinyl, and new track “Inhuman Hatred.” There’s a distinct difference between the two and it’s clear that in the six years since the band formed that they have worked to forge their own sound. “Shifting Sands” is a terrifically relentless from the very beginning and Barghest waste no time in getting down to the dirty business of delirious riffs and howls of pure disgust. Throwing in deep throaty growls to round out the vocal lines gives the track a sense of massive abhorrence and slow and doom-like sections showcase Barghest’s dedication to creating wild atmospheres of detestation. Occasionally, a filthy melody bleeds through the noise and a bitter loveliness creeps into Barghest’s repertoire, thankfully it’s not an overused tactic and the disgust soon rears its proverbial ugly head and order is restored.
“Inhuman Hatred” feels a little different to the previous track due to the time between their creations, yet the foundations of hate and misery are clear for all to hear. Driving rhythms push the track towards the inevitable end and Dallas Smith’s vocal delivery is filled with so much spite that it’s almost tangible in its all out disdain. That signature melody pulses again but this time there is no beauty in the despair, just plain rage and a huge sense of scorn.
False and their side of the split, “Heavy as a Church Tower” revel in a similar misery and can be as delightfully furious as Barghest in the faster moments yet they take their sweet time in the build up and let it wash over you with synth flourishes and gorgeously ravaged screams from frontwoman Rachel. False create huge waves of sound unyielding weight and “Heavy as a Church Tower” is as fantastically descriptive as song titles get, the band crushing with a powerful edge and instrumental wonder. Slower moments that counter with Rachel’s devastating vocal performance beat with a heady malevolence and the effect is mesmerising in its intensity and command. False are to die for.