Barathrum
Venomous

The revolving door continues for Finland’s Barathrum, with Pelceboop replacing Somnium, Abyssir replacing Beast Dominator, Trollhorn is gone but not replaced. That’s about 18 members in 12 years. Demonos Sova strikes again, and this time he figures we can count by now. Venomous does not announce itself as the seventh album. Other than that, not much has changed. The lyrical inspiration is occultism/ paganism and the musical inspiration is still old style doom mixed with black. The music is slow, heavy, still monotonous, still interesting. Demonos Sova now plays bass as well as vocals, bringing the total to three bass players and two guitarists. With this lineup, one would expect some depth, if not complexity, to the sound. It just is not there. On many songs you would swear they are a three piece instead of a six piece band.

Barathrum is Finland’s answer to Overkill, to most people nothing special, but they maintain a loyal following and a consistent discography. Maybe it is because, even after all these years no one else really sounds like them. They remain underrated and unheard, and dismissed as boring and simplistic. Barathrum has gone from slow heavy Sabbath doom black with bad production to the same with better production. They are not unique in this, of course, most bands improved production values as the 90’s progressed. The problem is that as the production improved the music regressed, more monotonous, simple, less inspired. Barathrum has not had a bad album in seven tries, but most of their best songs are the older ones. The vocals are still weak in the mix, they did not fix that. Overall Venomous is better than Okkult, but their best is still in the distant past. If you are new to Barathrum pick up Legions of Perkele and work your way backwards from there. Diehard fans pick up Venomous. I guess I qualify, since I had planned to purchase this disc before I got a promo in the mail.

The first three songs are forgettable, it picks up from there. “Black Flames And Blood” has some memorable bass lines, “Would You Sleep With The Demon?” has some melody, a bit faster pace, and more atmosphere. “Soaring Up From Hell” has that old style doom feel and “Black Death” is very Black Sabbath, with the super slow guitars we expect. They saved the best bass riffs for the title track. Overall a success, just not their best.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
September 2nd, 2002

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