I’m usually not one to step outside of my usual metal fare of death metal black metal and their various sub genres. However, a little prog band from Vermont named after a Magic the Gathering card has really captured my attention with their self titled 2013 debut.

It’s my understanding that the band started out as an instrumental act, but decided to add vocals, courtesy of Sascha Simms, who actually helps me step out side of my musical box (I’m not really an instrumental metal kind of guy either) not only by adding vocals, but harsh screamed vocals mixed in with a  clean prog vocal style, adding just enough edge to the music to draw me in.

The other element that got me somewhat enamored  with a style and sound I would not normally enjoy is the simply gorgeous production on this album (Kudos to  Brian Westbrook at PDP Recording and Nick Dragoni at M-Works Mastering Studio ) . Every single instrument just sings with pristine clarity and warm richness that you can hear and feel every single note and moment in your very being, not just your ears. It’s rare that I get so sucked in by a production other than the Sunlight/HM -2 sound, but on Barishi, I was absolutely mesmerized by the lush, crystal clear tones at every turn. Throw in some subtle well placed Saxphone use and you get a release that should appease all fans of just music, not just prog metal.

On to the music itself, the band’s bandcamp site cites Mastodon, Opeth, Iron Maiden as tags, and I’m OK with that, as to be honest I don’t have a lot of reference points for this kind of music but I might throw out and more relaxed Protest the Hero also. Even with Simms, there are large chunks of instrumental metal where the producton just reels you in. The themes are elemental and natural, and you get a slight tribal sense to a lot of the material and when delivering stammering, choppy riffs or smooth melodies there’s an aura of dreamy, swaying, organic psychedelia that imbues a peace pipe laced metal dream.

From Sax laden intro “Sky Burial” which segues into the Pan-Thy -Monium imbuing start of “Holy Mountain” which in turns shifts into a catchy prog romp. Personal favorite “The Rider” has a gorgeous shimmering main riff, then 4 minute interlude “Exhibiche” has a nice alluring, jangly strum before the languid 8 minute “Through Mountains, Through Plains”. ‘The Waves” picks up the intensity with a sort of early Incubus (yeah, the nu metal one) but don’t let that refererence put you off a wonderful album that is a pleasant break from all the gurgling brutality I usually listen to.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 23rd, 2014


  1. Commented by: Jesse Wolf

    there is no such thing as a break from gurgling brutality :p

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