Barbarus - Barbarus I - (8.5/10)
Published on October 18, 2015
Genre:Pagan / Doom
The sheer amount of new bands popping up everywhere is astounding. Especially thanks to the advancements in home recording, it is easier than ever to create a good sounding recording even in the smallest of confines and if a musician manages to master more than one instrument, he’s in business right then and there. Latest addition to the humongous sand dune that is metal is New Jersey-based one-man army Barbarus and its debut EP Barbarus I.
Labeled as pagan/doom metal, it is two styles that usually don’t go together, but Maksym Senyshyn seems to have found the junction between the two of them, because he manages to keep the pagan spirit high and the tempo mostly low, which results in a very interesting, atmospheric EP that sounds equally familiar and original at the same time. Highly melodic arpeggiated guitars meet a slow, plodding rhythm, very melodic leads and Senyshyn’s gruff, yet intelligible voice on opening “Angels’ Wings”, an approach that continues on into “The Forsaken Lands” in great style, while maintaining distinct differences.
“Noble Lords” shows a completely different side, without distortion and clear vocals, the song has more of a bard-like feeling, before bringing in an elegiac lead guitar. While the first four songs all hover between the three- and four-minute mark, closing “The Right of Life” takes on a different challenge with more than eight minutes, and Senyshyn makes the most out of it by taking the listener onto a more varied and epic journey through the lands of Barbarus, exploring the whole width of the genre from acoustic sections to slow, double-bass driven passages without losing the character of the rest of the EP before.
These days it is easy for a band to either blindly follow in footsteps that have been stepped into (too) many times before or on its quest to find a path yet untravelled encounters terrains that had not yet been explored for a reason. Barbarus, though, are just next to the busy road and it ultimately pays off for them, because they differ just enough to actually be able to build a foundation they could erect their very own niche onto, now the wait for the debut album has begun!